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Erie County Sheriff's Office launches Yellow Dot awareness campaign

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

The Erie County Sheriff's Office is beginning a year-long awareness campaign for a statewide program it says will save emergency first responders precious time and could potentially save a life.

It's known as the Yellow Dot Program, which is operated by the New York State Sheriffs Association. It's a kit that includes a yellow dot decal and a yellow card on which pertinent medical information may be recorded. Under the program, that card may be kept in the glove compartment. If a copy of the card is kept at home, it is recommended by the program to place it inside the home's freezer.

The decal, Sheriff Tim Howard said, should be placed on a car window or main entrance of a home. Pointing out that the kits are free, he suggested families acquire multiple kits.  The program is designed to assist senior citizens or others with a medical condition in the event they are unable to communicate with those responding to an emergency.

"By displaying the yellow sticker, you are conveying to the first responder that you have medical information that you want to share with them," explained Erie County Sheriff Tim Howard. "The next step of that program is where to look for the information. The instructions are in the folders."

Howard says it will not only save time but may potentially prevent first responders from making a serious medical mistake. The sheriff cited examples including auto drivers who are found passed out but, rather than being intoxicated, are perhaps undergoing diabetic shock or a serious allergic reaction.

In addition to the New York State Sheriffs Association, the Better Business Bureau Serving Upstate New York is participating in the awareness campaign through networking and helping the Sheriff's Office create roadside signs.

Those signs will be displayed in several municipalities that recently passed a resolution declaring itself a "Yellow Dot Community." They are Alden, Amherst, Angola, Boston, Clarence, Concord, East Aurora, Elma, Farnham, Grand Island, Holland, Lancaster, Newstead, North Collins, Orchard Park, Tonawanda, Springville and Wales. 

"We helped sponsor the signs. We think that was a really important thing for the communities to see the program," said BBB president and CEO Warren Clark. "They've had some difficulty getting the people to see it and they turned to us. We're honored and thrilled to be a part of it."

An information session was scheduled for Tuesday, September 13 at the Amherst Senior Center, located at 370 John James Audubon Parkway, beginning at 12:30 p.m. Additional informational sessions are planned for other senior centers throughout the county. Information on those sessions are expected to be announced at a later date. 

Michael Mroziak is an experienced, award-winning reporter whose career includes work in broadcast and print media. When he joined the WBFO news staff in April 2015, it was a return to both the radio station and to Horizons Plaza.
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