By CARL SMITH
Starkville drivers could see a new sticker fad sweep through the community and onto the back of vehicles: yellow dots which could help save lives.
Aldermen agreed Tuesday to form a committee to develop ideas toward the implementation of the Yellow Dot program, an initiative aimed at providing emergency responders immediate access to medical information during an accident. The committee will be comprised by Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk, city Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill, parks Director Matthew Rye, SPD Chief David Lindley and SFD Chief Rodger Mann.
Participants of the Yellow Dot program will receive a yellow, highly visible sticker to be placed on the rear of their vehicle, have their picture taken for proper identification and receive forms which they will fill out with their medical information. The medical information and picture will be placed in a marked folder located in the driver’s glove compartment. In an emergency, first responders will see the sticker and know the victim’s vehicle contains their medical information.
If implemented in Starkville, Sistrunk said Tuesday the program would be very inexpensive and would have an optional signup for residents.
Public affairs officials with the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Mississippi Department of Public Safety and Mississippi Development Authority all said they had no knowledge of the program’s implementation in the state, but Lora Weaver, a spokesperson for the Northeast Alabama Traffic Safety Office, said she has been contacted for additional Yellow Dot information by representatives or citizens of Hancock, Rankin and Madison counties.
By mid-September, the Alabama Yellow Dot program will expand into 29 counties, she said.
“I would estimate we have 30,000 to 40,000 Alabama residents enrolled in this program,” Weaver said. “We’ve had success stories not only in vehicle situations, but also outside of those. A gentleman thought he was having a heart attack in church, so his friends there knew he had the folder in his car and rushed it to the hospital.”
Lindley said he believes the program would be a large success in Starkville because of the ability to quickly get life-saving information in the hands of emergency responders.
“The first moments of any type of medical emergency are so crucial,” he said. “(The medical information list) could include, for example, diabetes, heart problems, medications being taken and so on. It would be very beneficial for people in need of special assistance.”
Sistrunk said Starkville’s Yellow Dot program is still its first planning stages, so no estimates of costs are available. The group will meet later this week to discuss the program’s implementation.
“All we’re talking about (in terms of expenses) is a picture, a folder, a dot and a form. None of those things will be very expensive,” Sistrunk said. “We’re hoping to have our group apply for one of the subgrants from the Healthy Hometown Award. Some funding could also come from our retirement programing, and there maybe opportunities for people who want to support this program to make donations.”