What is the Vial of Life?
The “Vial of LIFE” program is a nationally recognized program that assists emergency medical workers when responding to and treating individuals during home medical emergencies. The Vial of LIFE contains much of the medical history of an individual needed by the responding emergency medical personnel, such as existing medical conditions, allergies, medication currently being taken, and emergency contact information. This important medical and patient information is placed on a standardized form, and placed in a baggie, which is stored on your refrigerator.
How does the program work?
When you have a medical emergency in your home, police, fire and EMS personnel will look on your refrigerator door for a Vial of LIFE magnet and baggie. Upon seeing this magnet on your refrigerator door, the members will retrieve the completed information from the baggie. You should keep additional forms to replace the ones taken or you can download additional forms from the Leon County EMS website. This information will assist responding emergency medical personnel with previous medical history, medications and other related information that may be used in the treatment of you or your family member. The kit consists of an information form, baggie and magnet.
- Complete a Vial of LIFE form. Be sure to include the date that you completed this form (this will help emergency personnel know how recent is the medical information.). It may be beneficial to attach a recent photograph of yourself to the form as a means for positive identification.
- After completing the forms, fold them and place them in the baggie.
- If you don't know the answer to a question on the form, contact your doctor or pharmacist for the correct information or leave the section blank.
- Attach the Vial of LIFE magnet and baggie to the top portion of your refrigerator door to alert emergency personnel to the presence of Vial of LIFE information.
Who will have access to this information?
If you or a family member requires emergency medical treatment, possible life saving information will be available to responding personnel. This includes EMS personnel, Fire Department personnel, and law enforcement. The information will then be supplied to the medical staff and doctors at the treating hospital. At no time will this information be available to anyone other than personnel involved in the treatment of the patient.
Why should I participate?
As emergency medical personnel respond to each emergency, important information must be gathered in order to properly treat the patient. If this information is available immediately upon arrival on the scene, minutes can be saved while treating the patient. When seconds can mean the difference between life and death, the advantages of participation are obvious. Sometimes a patient may be unconscious or unable to talk with emergency medical personnel. In a case such as this, emergency medical personnel can look at the information provided on the form and help determine the possible treatment of the patient.
Where will this information be stored?
The form will be placed in a baggie which will then be placed on your refrigerator door. This location was chosen because it is centrally located and common to all households. Ensure that the form is returned to you after emergency personnel have obtained the needed information.
How will the responding personnel know you are participating?
A magnet or sticker placed on the exterior of your refrigerator door will notify emergency personnel of your participation.
Why should I include a photo with my Vial of LIFE form?
It is beneficial to include a recent photo with your Vial of LIFE form to distinguish family members or individuals that reside at the same residence. Even if you live alone it is important to include a recent photo with your form just in case you happen to have guests stay in your home. By including a recent photo you can be sure that there is no confusion for Emergency Personnel.
What happens when I am away from home?
If you would like to carry a second copy with you while traveling, make a photocopy and place it in your wallet or purse. It is important not to take the original form and baggie from home with you. We will be happy to provide residents of Osage County with additional forms if needed.
How do I get additional forms?
Additional forms may be obtained from the Osage Ambulance District website (www.osageamb.com), from Osage Ambulance District Office (119 South Highway 89, Linn, MO) or at www.vialoflife.com.
How often should I update the information?
It is important to update and maintain current information. If there is a medication change or any other problems that should be noted, make changes on the form or get a new form. People's medication(s) change from time to time. If that happens, draw a line through those medications you are no longer taking, and write down any new ones prescribed for you.
Who should fill out or update the information?
You can fill it out or update it, but if you need assistance you can have your physician, nurse or medical personnel assist you or you may contact Osage Ambulance District headquarters. Someone at your church in the medical profession may also assist you. Review you Vial of LIFE information and update it after a doctor's appointment or when information changes.
For more information on the Vial of Life program or setting up an informational session on the program for your community group, business, or organization, please call (573) 897-0044.