MARIETTA — The Senior Citizen Council of Cobb County hopes to give thousands of seniors a resource to share lifesaving medical information with responders in case of emergency.

In the national Vial of Life program for seniors, people can fill out a form with their medical information, including history and prescriptions, allergies, contacts, and anything else that might be relevant in an emergency. They can also add a recent photo for identification. Participants are encouraged to keep this in their house in a visible place, like the refrigerator door, and put a sticker on the front and back door as a sign for emergency medical technicians.

The council is asking for donations to support distributing vials to seniors. They want to distribute at least 1,500 “vials” for Cobb seniors, and hope to double that, said June Van Brackle, council president.

The vials, or kits, can be used by anyone but are especially important for seniors, particularly if they live alone or are homebound, Van Brackle said.

“If someone is unresponsive, it can save a life,” she said.

In addition to the medical form, the council is adding extra materials in what it calls the “Vial of Life PLUS:” a thermometer, to help residents who are increasingly relying on telehealth, and to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, a mask and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

Lt. Wes Garrett of Cobb County Fire and Emergency Services, said having information like what’s in the Vial of Life helps emergency responders work more efficiently.

“A lot of times when we respond, the patient that we’re responding for, they can’t tell us their history, their allergies or the medications they take that may interact with what we’re going to give them,” he said. “Definitely, having this kind of information is very helpful.”

Garrett said that while many EMTs are familiar with the Vial of Life program, he will make sure to include a review of the project in the department’s next monthly training.

According to the council, one third of seniors do not have a thermometer in their home, nor do they have medical information readily available for emergencies.

The council is seeking donations in the form of sponsorships for the packets. An individual or group may sponsor four packets for $25, 10 for $50 and 25 for $100.

The Senior Citizen Council is also seeking organizations or companies who may wish to donate masks, hand sanitizer supplies or digital thermometers.

For more information about the project or to get involved, call 423-815-1790 or email info@seniorcitizencouncilofcobb.org.

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