March 25, 2014 – It’s been only two years since the Vial of LIFE (LIFE is the abbreviation for Lifesaving Information for Emergencies) program was launched but to date more than 20,000 kits have been assembled and distributed says Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske who brought the program to Long Beach in 2012.
Vial of LIFE is a simple, yet powerful way to get life saving information for emergencies into the hands of Emergency Medical Services personnel. Schipske, a former EMT and currently a Registered Nurse Practitioner, brought the program to Long Beach because of her concern that many senior residents were unable to give information about their prescriptions to paramedics.
“The kits eliminate using precious time in assessing and treating a patient,” notes Schipske, pointing out that she completed her EMT training years ago by riding with LB Fire Department Paramedics at Station 1. Vial of LIFE allows individuals to record vital life saving information for emergencies and store it in a uniform location in their home for the reference of the Long Beach Fire Department EMS personnel, family or friends in the event that the individual is incapacitated in a medical emergency.
The Vial of Life program has become an important tool for the Long Beach Fire Department EMS personnel to use in gaining vital lifesaving information that allows them to give appropriate treatment to patients who are unable to answer basic questions about their medical history, allergies to medications, or the identity of their doctor.
Thanks to the generosity of several community organizations businesses, Schipske was able to have volunteers put together and distribute more than 15,000 kits. Each vial contains instruction and medical information sheets and a magnet that goes on the refrigerator to let paramedics know to look inside for the vial for the stored information.
“I want to thank St. Mary Medical Center, Long Beach Cares, and Walmart for stepping up and donating the materials for the kits. I also want to thank Chief Duree and the Long Beach Fire Department for producing a public service announcement video that explains the Vial of LIFE.” Schipske adds that numerous church groups and social service agencies contact her office requesting Vial of LIFE for their members.
“We can’t assemble them fast enough to meet the demand.” Schipske is asking that the Vial of LIFE and its donors be acknowledged at the April 2 Council meeting. “They need to be thanked for helping the citizens of Long Beach become safer and better prepared for medical emergencies that may arise.”
For more information on Vial of LIFE, log onto: www.lbvialoflife.com.