Church group’s lifesaving project has been a big hit

The response to the simplest of emergency response projects has been “overwhelming and still growing,” according to the group that is assembling Vial of L.I.F.E. packets.

“The reaction from people who get these is ‘I wish I had had this earlier’ and it usually involves an elderly parent,” said Cynthia Moon, a member of the Second Presbyterian Church women’s group that is sponsoring the program.

Launched a month ago, the Vial of L.I.F.E. (Lifesaving Information for Emergencies) project consists of a bright red sticker, a small plastic bag and a single sheet of paper.

The paper lists entries for physical description, primary language, medical conditions, medications, emergency contact numbers and more to be filled out by the individual or family member.

The plastic bag with the filled-out paper is taped inside a person’s refrigerator door, and the sticker is placed on the front door. The sticker tells an emergency responder “to see refrigerator door” for complete medical information.

The church group is footing the bill for the items and there is no charge to the public.

The refrigerator is the location of choice because it is a common item in a household and remains relatively unscathed in a fire or flood.

The first production effort produced 3,000 packets that were distributed to senior centers, Oil City and Franklin Housing Authorities, the Visiting Nurses Association, UPMC Northwest hospital and municipal buildings in Oil City, Franklin, Cranberry and Sugarcreek.

“They are all gone and we are making 6,000 more today,” said Moon, who was surrounded Tuesday by church volunteers putting together the packets.

The new packets will be available next week at the Oil City, Franklin and Cooperstown libraries and the President Township municipal building. In February, a large collection will be divvied up for area physicians’ offices.

“Some people say to me that they don’t need the packets because they don’t take any medications but I ask them, what if you fall down the steps? Responders need information about you, whether old or young, to help because they wouldn’t know, for example, if you are a diabetic,” said Moon. “A paramedic is hitting you blind.”

Oil City fire Chief Mark Hicks described the project as one that will “save lives.”

“We have had people ask us for them,” said Hicks. “And I encourage people getting these. If you are in a position that you are unable to speak for yourself and tell us what is wrong, that sticker directing us to that packet will give us the information to help you.”