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Yellow Dot program can help save lives

Every year there are thousands of auto accidents nationwide; Southern Nevada is no exception. In Nevada, we have several state and federal highways that pass through our cities that have been steadily increasing over the past years. Clark County currently is home to over 2 million citizens, which means constant congestion of our roads and highways is all but inevitable.

Here in Boulder City we have two major highways that run through our small town and, with the building of a third, that means thousands of vehicles passing through on our roadways every day. Murphy’s Law roughly states if something can go wrong, it will.

Firefighters here are responsible for being the first responders and prehospital emergency medical-care providers. We are constantly training and educating ourselves on the latest and newest automobile constructions as well as the cutting edge of trauma response and care, and the ever-changing medical field protocols. We pride ourselves in our ability to offer the safest, fastest and supportive care we can provide to our citizens. Getting patients to the hospital within the “golden hour” of traumatic injuries is and will continue to be our main objective.

In 2015, the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada was able to lobby for the passing of a bill known as the Yellow Dot program. This bill, signed by Gov. Brian Sandoval, is taking one major step forward in the progression of patient care for individuals involved in automotive accidents.

One of the major problems faced by first responders at automotive accidents is the patient’s “unknowns.” In the event of an accident where the people involved are unconscious, unresponsive or in any other form incapable of communicating to the paramedics on scene the Yellow Dot program fills the gaps.

If an accident victim is unable to provide vital information such as personal logistics, past medical history, current medications taken, known allergies or past surgeries, the Yellow Dot program would be rapidly accessible to the first responders and could provide valuable information that might possibly be the difference between life and death.

So what exactly is the Yellow Dot program and where do I get one? By visiting www.rtcsnv.com/yellowdot or calling 702-676-1754 you can find locations for a free Yellow Dot kit or have one mailed to your residence.

In Boulder City there are four locations for you to pick up a free kit: the Senior Center of Boulder City, Boulder City Recreation Center, the police station and fire station.

Within the kit will be a sticker, a large circular yellow sticker that should be placed in the lower left hand side of your rear window. This sticker is what informs first responders that you have the kit in your vehicle.

The kit also includes a small pamphlet that fits into a provided envelope to be stored securely in your glove box. The information written on the pamphlet is most vital to the first responders.

The pamphlet has sections to provide the following information for yourself and other possible occupants of the vehicle: name(s) and emergency contacts, allergies and information about past medical history, your physician or physicians, your preferred hospital, and insurance provider. You should also provide a small recent photo of yourself as well as any additional information you might think is necessary for first responders such as blood type, past surgeries or previous injuries.

This program has already been enacted by 22 states and shown to be very helpful.

“Partnerships with local and state leaders, agencies and emergency responders are the foundation for a successful Yellow Dot program,” said Assemblyman Derek Armstrong, author of Assembly Bill 176. “This program is working in states the size of New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Alabama, and I expect it do well in Nevada, too.”

If you have any questions or comments regarding the Yellow Dot program, please feel free to call me at the fire station at 702-293-9228 or email me at bshea@bcnv.org.

I encourage you to visit the Regional Transportation Commission’s website and pick up your free Yellow Dot kit. We will do everything in our power to help keep you safe. Help us help you.

Brian Shea is a Boulder City paramedic/firefighter.

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