Following last week's launch of two statewide emergency assistance initiatives, state Rep. Matt Baker (R-Bradford/Tioga), chairman of the House Health Committee, is encouraging Pennsylvanians to take part in the voluntary programs.

The Yellow Dot program is focused on ensuring emergency responders have access to information important to treating crash victims who may be otherwise unresponsive; the Emergency Contact Information program offers police quick access to a victim's emergency contact person.

"Knowing a person's health history can really make a difference in their survival and recovery from injuries suffered in an auto accident or other emergency situations," Baker said. "I was pleased to work with the administration in making these programs available to Pennsylvanians."

The Yellow Dot Program encourages motorists to complete a simple questionnaire with information on their medical condition, medications, allergies and emergency contacts, and place the questionnaire in a yellow folder in their vehicle's glove box. A yellow sticker is then affixed to the rear vehicle window to alert emergency responders that the driver participates in the program. The program is free to all Pennsylvanians.

"Research shows that receiving assistance within the first 60 minutes following a crash is critical in life-saving situations and information on any medical conditions or medications someone is taking is imperative for delivery of appropriate care," Baker said. "If a person is in shock or unconscious and cannot relay the needed information, emergency responders are at a disadvantage."

A second initiative, the Emergency Contact Information Program, offers anyone who has a driver's license or photo ID the opportunity to securely log into a database, which will only be accessible by police, and list two emergency contacts. Anytime a participating person needs emergency assistance and has a driver's license or ID on him or her, law enforcement will have the ability to contact the designated emergency contact.

"This program provides law enforcement with the ability to quickly get in touch with a person's emergency contact if such notification is needed, as long as he or she has his or her license or ID accessible and participates in the program," Baker said.

To learn more about the Yellow Dot program, to sign up for a program folder or to find locations where program materials can be picked up, visit www.YellowDot.pa.gov. To sign up for the Emergency Contact Information program, visit www.dmv.state.pa.us and click on the program icon. Links to both programs also can be found at www.RepBaker.com.

Submitted by Rep. Matt Baker