Medical alert forms could help Huntington Woods emergency responses

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published August 6, 2019

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HUNTINGTON WOODS — The city of Huntington Woods is introducing a new service for residents that can help inform first responders of pertinent medical information while they are responding to an emergency.

Residents can fill out an “alert form for dispatchers” that contains information that will be relayed from a dispatcher to first responders so that they can react faster and more efficiently to any situation — medical or otherwise.

City Manager Amy Sullivan said the idea for the service came after the heavy rain event in August 2014. There was a concern that Huntington Woods should try to identify seniors or vulnerable residents who would need more help during emergencies or a crisis.

“It was our way of trying to figure out what residents in our community needed to be identified so they could get extra attention in a crisis or emergency situation,” she said.

Public Safety Director Andrew Pazuchowski said the new and enhanced 911 systems with a dispatch center in Berkley give the city the capability of having all this information.

“When (public safety officers) pull up the address, all that information comes up,” he said. “Where in the past, we didn’t have that capability. So what we want is pretty much any information that the resident believes would be important to EMS or police when we arrive.”

The alert form, which can be found on the city’s website at www.hwmi.org, asks medical questions such as if an occupant has epilepsy, is diabetic, is on oxygen, is not ambulatory, or if a person has a do-not-resuscitate order on file.

Before the new service, most of this information was obtained when public safety officers arrived on the scene and started asking questions about what happened. Now, Pazuchowski said, time can be saved so the medical personnel who arrive can act fast and treat a problem right away.

“That helps us to troubleshoot what’s wrong with the patient,” he said.

Residents also can include whether they have a KnoxBox on their property, which is a device that holds a key to a residence and that the Public Safety Department has a master key to unlock. This way, Pazuchowski said, they can enter into somebody’s home without breaking a window or door.

For anyone with privacy concerns, Pazuchowski said the enhanced 911 system holding the information will be secured, and the only people who can access it will work for the city.

Sullivan said the city felt that it was difficult to do because it couldn’t base the service on age and assume everybody above a certain age would need help, as well as the face that any kind of list would be constantly changing.

“Rather than try to identify those types of people that would need help, we went about it the opposite (way), which was reaching out to people that we think might need help and asking them to let us know who they are,” she said. “By providing that information to public safety, if there is an emergency, we already have information about those vulnerabilities ahead of time so the public safety is prepared to respond to that situation.”
Sullivan said the city already has received forms from individuals, but for anyone who hasn’t learned about it yet through the city’s website or e-news, Huntington Woods will include information about the service in its upcoming water bills through December.

Residents who are interested in filling out the form or have more questions about it can contact Sullivan at (248) 581-2632 or at asullivan@hwmi.org.

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