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Firefighters provide Vials of L.I.F.E.

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By Kellie Parkin

The Cedar Key Volunteer Fire and Rescue department is kicking off the new year with an easy and practical life-saving public service.

Vial of L.I.F.E. (Life Saving Information for Emergencies) gives residents a way to provide critical information to first responders in the event of an emergency.

“In a medical emergency it can be difficult to remember all of the information needed,” said Fire Chief Robert Robinson. “This program gives us vital information to react accordingly and it can be a huge time saver.” Readily available medical information and documentation of a person’s desired treatment means that when in crisis the individual will get the help needed in an effective and respectful way.

Time saved means quicker and better help, Robinson said.

The department will be distributing free kits to the public containing an information sheet, a clear plastic bag, two Vial of L.I.F.E. decals and instructions.

One decal should be placed on the plastic bag, the other decal should be placed on the front door or window so that it is easily visible to emergency responders. The bag should be taped to the refrigerator door or be located on the top shelf of the refrigerator.

The plastic bag should contain a list of medicines and dosages taken, a picture of the person, and perhaps a copy of a recent EKG, a living will, and advanced directives so that an incapacitated individual’s wishes are honored.

The program Vial of L.I.F.E. originally began with using discarded prescription medicine vials in which a person wrote pertinent information regarding current medication and doses taken on a piece of paper then rolled it up to fit inside.

The use of a plastic bag became more popular out of convenience and practicality. Prescription bottles did not have enough room for elderly people to document medications and desired treatment.

The vials were not large enough to hold important documents such as power of attorney, and living will. “With the baggies, people can include advanced directives and Do Not Resuscitate orders,” Robinson said.

The fire department is offering to visit groups and organizations to speak about the importance of this new initiative. Other safety measures will also be discussed. “We will explain the importance of having a home or business clearly marked with its address,” Robinson said.

Also addressed will be I.C.E. for cell phones. In Case of Emergency (ICE) is a growing national movement that has been found to be simple and effective. By placing the capital letters ICE before one or more of the numbers in a cell phone, first responders are quickly able to determine who to contact in case of an emergency.

Information and downloadable forms about the Vial of L.I.F.E. program can be found at the fire department’s website www.cedarkeyfire.org, and flyers are available at town hall.