The Yellow Dot program assists citizens in the “golden hour” or emergency care following a traffic crash when they may not be able to communicate their needs themselves. However, not many people, including first responders, know about the program.
“The ‘golden hour’ is what they consider, at least in the trauma world, the chance you have between saving a life and maybe not saving a life,” said Fritzi Schreffler, a PennDOT spokesperson.
The Yellow Dot decal goes on the rear window and alerts first responders to check the glove compartment for a yellow pamphlet, which contains vital information including medical conditions, emergency contacts and even preferred hospital.
PennDOT hopes you’ll never have to use it, but if you’re ever in a serious crash when seconds count, the yellow dot sticker could be the difference between life and death.
“If they see that yellow dot on the back of a car, they know to go in the glove box to look for that information,” Shreffler said.
It’s a situation one first responder knows all too well.
“There may be a language barrier, they might be deaf and we just can’t communicate with them so there’s different issues we run into,” said Chad Deardorff, Deputy Fire Chief of the York City Fire Department.
But for a program that’s all about getting information in the right hands; not all first responders are aware of it.
“I had to think about what it was at first,” Deardorff said.
And he’s not the only one whose never heard of it.
“It’s true that there are first responders who may not be aware of the program,” Schreffler said. “We encourage them to check it out to make sure they’re aware of it, because it is something that could save somebody’s life.”
PennDOT said it’s no surprise because the program was only given a $15,000 budget when it first launched, which made spreading the word tough.
“This initiative would work well for us that we could just go to that piece of paper and find out their name, their information, what hospital they want to go to,” Deardorff said.
For a free Yellow Dot kit, go to PennDOT’s website at www.penndot.gov.