August 7, 2014

CRESSKILL — The Fire Department wants to give people with health conditions the option to provide first responders quick access to their vital medical information in case of crisis.

The department is distributing “File of Life” folders in which residents can enter their names, medications, allergies, emergency contacts and other important information.

The File of Life is a bright red plastic sleeve the size of a large postcard that sticks to the refrigerator with a magnet. Inside the sleeve is the medical form on which the residents can write their information. A sticker which residents place on their front doors alerts the first responders to check the refrigerator for the medical information.

The form will allow first responders to know key factors they’re facing in an emergency, said Fire Chief Chris Ulshoefer.

“The EMS responds to over two dozen calls a year where the patient is unconscious and family members who would be able to inform us of what happened or of any past medical history are not present,” he said. “There are times when the only other way to determine what’s wrong with an unconscious patient is from the results of tests that are performed by paramedics or at the hospital.”

The concept was born in Bridgeport, Conn., several years ago in a slightly different form as the Vial of Life, which was to be kept inside the refrigerator. But the vial, with a paper containing medical information inside, would get lost or become unreadable because of the moisture in the refrigerator, said Ulshoefer.

He recommends filling out the form in pencil or updating it periodically in case prescriptions change frequently.

The File of Life packets are free and can be picked up at the Fire Headquarters, EMS Headquarters, Borough Hall and other locations around town.

AUGUST 6, 2014, 7:09 PM    LAST UPDATED: WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 6, 2014, 7:09 PM