Farmington public safety unveils Vial of Life program

By: Sherri Kolade | Farmington Press | Published April 20, 2016

 The Farmington Public Safety Department recently unveiled the Vial of Life program to help residents.

The Farmington Public Safety Department recently unveiled the Vial of Life program to help residents.

Photo provided by the Farmington Public Safety Department

FARMINGTON — The Farmington Public Safety Department wants to know what is in your freezer.

The department hopes to spread the word about a new program unveiled earlier this month, Vial of Life, which encourages people to place medical information on a form in a tube in their freezer.

“We figured everyone has a freezer, (and it is the) most logical place to put it,” Sgt. Reggie Madeline said recently. He said officers can quickly locate pertinent information that way.

The free program is for Farmington residents and was recently delivered to 153 residences at a senior housing facility, Farmington Place Apartments. 

The program is aimed at assisting Farmington public safety officers when responding to medical emergencies, according to a press release. 

Each vial has a medical information form — filled out by a resident in pencil so individuals may make changes easily. 

The vial is kept inside the freezer door. The freezer was the location selected because the vials might not be so easily shoved around as they would in a cupboard or a drawer, and because not everyone has the same kitchen design, but everyone has a freezer.

“We didn’t want to say, ‘Put it in the kitchen to the left of the sink,’” he said.

“I know of some other departments that had good luck with the program in the surrounding area,” Madeline said. “I kind of jumped on the bandwagon.”

Madeline said the city also uses the Knox Box rapid entry program, in which a secure box with medical information hangs on the outside of the front door of residential and commercial locations.

He said that through the Vial of Life program, every resident can receive a free vial from police, making it more accessible than the other program. 

“The best thing about having this is if we do respond to a medical emergency, when we arrive, (the resident) may not be able to talk. If they have Vial of Life filled out and put in the freezer, officers can gather the information and get them the best help they need — in addition to contacting family members,” Madeline said.

Vials are available at the front desk of the Public Safety Department, 23600 Liberty St., 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“Come in and request one. (We’ll) be more than glad to give one to them,” Madeline said, adding that one vial per occupant in the household, or at least for the adults, should be filled out.

He added that he hopes to get the word out right away about the program.

“It’s a program that is in its infancy, and we’re trying to get it off the ground and get it to as many people as possible,” Madeline said. “It is a huge benefit to the residents … and huge benefit to officers, and helps them render care in the time of need during emergencies on scene.”

Public Safety Department Deputy Director Ted Warthman said the program is important, especially for seniors, because when police are dispatched to the local senior housing center, some seniors may be unresponsive and not able to provide medical information.

“Namely, medication listed, medical history or family members’ (contact information),” Warthman said. “It is still pretty early in the program, but we think especially in our senior housing area it will be very successful; I’m excited about it,” Warthman said.

Additional emergency forms may be found on the city’s website at www.farmgov.com under the Public Safety/Fire Services tab and “Emergency Information Form,” according to a press release.

For more information about the program, call Madeline at (248) 474-4700.