By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
After months of planning, Starkville will officially launch its Yellow Dot program Tuesday, which officials say will help save lives in the event of a car accident or other emergency.
The Yellow Dot packets will be available at the Starkville Sportsplex, Fire Station No.1, the Wellness Connection and the Sanderson Center beginning Tuesday.
Participants will receive a yellow sticker to place on the back of their vehicle, have their picture taken for identification and fill out forms detailing their medical history. The picture and medical forms will be placed in a marked envelope and stored in the glove compartment.
“It’s free to sign up. There are no costs and no requirements,” Starkville Parks and Recreation Director Matthew Rye said. “At first, we thought we might design it specifically for senior citizens, but we decided it would be open to anyone.”
In the event of an accident, emergency responders would see the yellow sticker and know to look for the medical information. Following a serious accident, victims may be unconscious or unable to provide a detailed medical history. Information about any serious medical problem, like a heart condition, allergy or diabetes, or any medication the victim is on can be crucial for first responders.
“If the person is unable to talk and we can get information off that card, we can give better care to the patient,” Starkville Fire Department Chief Rodger Mann said. “One of the benefits of this program is that it will give first responders a leg up on giving proper medical treatment to the victim.”
The committee designated to get the Yellow Dot program in Starkville was first organized in August. It consists of Rye, Mann, city Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill, Ward 2 Alderman Sandra Sistrunk and Starkville Police Department Chief David Lindley.
Sistrunk said the plan to bring the Yellow Dot program to Starkville is a community effort between the city of Starkville, Oktibbeha County, Mississippi State University, Oktibbeha-Starkville Emergency Response Volunteer Services, Greater Starkville Development Partnership, Oktibbeha County Hospital and Northeast Mississippi Red Cross.
The Yellow Dot program began in Connecticut in 2002 and has since spread across the country. Starkville is the first city in Mississippi to have a Yellow Dot program, but it has had success in Alabama, where nearly 30 counties are enrolled.
“I think it’s a very simple program, a very cost effective program that allows first responders to have critical medical information in the case of an emergency,” Sistrunk said. “I hope that this is a program that grows throughout Mississippi.”
The city provided $5,000 to pay for the necessary supplies and were able to purchase 2,500 packets.
The program is free and open to anyone who wishes to participate, including those who are not residents of Starkville. Though Tuesday marks the official launch of the program, packets will be available during office hours from now on at the four main locations.