The Yellow Dot of life

Pictured above is what the Yellow Dot sticker looks like. (Photo submitted)

GLOVERSVILLE — When a person suffers an accident or medical emergency, especially if they’re unresponsive, a simple 2-inch yellow dot could make a world of difference.

Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home has teamed up with the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department to bring the New York state Sheriffs’ Association’s potentially life-saving Yellow Dot program throughout the county.

Yellow Dot is a free program designed to help first responders provide rapid and accurate medical attention during the first hour—”the golden hour”— after a crash or other emergency. In emergency medicine, the golden hour refers to an hour or less, after traumatic injury or health crisis, when medical intervention is likely to produce the best outcome.

The Yellow Dot kit in a person’s house or car can provide first responders with vital information about a victim’s medical history.

“The more information, the better in an emergency, for correct diagnosis and treatment,” said Cheryl McGrattan, vice president of marketing, communications and community relations at Littauer.

Knowing a person’s allergies and medical history is expecially important in preventing further injury when a victim is unconscious, said Sheriff Richard C. Giardino. He cited examples of heart attack or stroke when time is crucial.

The Yellow Dot kit contains a medical information card and a Yellow Dot decal. Participants complete the card, attach a recent photo, place it in the glove compartment of their vehicle and place the Yellow Dot decal on the rear driver’s side window, and at their home’s main entry door. First responders arriving at the scene of an emergency will be alerted by the Yellow Dot decal to look for the medical information card in the glove compartment, or in the home’s freezer.

“If an individual is involved in an accident or medical emergency, first responders will see the yellow dot and locate the medical packet in either the glove box or freezer in the home,” said Giardino. “While the freezer seems unusual, the program uses one set location to ensure all individual’s information can be found quickly, rather than people leaving the medical packet anywhere they want.”

Besides distribution through the sheriff’s office, Yellow Dot kits will be offered to patients through Nathan Littauer Hospital and Nursing Home upon discharge—providing the most up-to-date information.

“The Nathan Littauer Foundation, the charitable arm of Nathan Littauer Hospital, supports this project to increase patient’s safety in their homes and vehicles,” said Geoffrey Peck, vice president and executive director of the foundation.

Giardino said retired deputy Wayne Peters and his wife, Gail, can provide presentations about the program to area groups and organization.

Giardino said he first heard about the Yellow Dot program when Patricia Ryfa of Broadalbin asked him to look into it when he was speaking at the Johnstown Senior Citizens Center in 2015. He had recently been elected sheriff and was looking for ideas for his department.

Ryfa had heard of the program from a presentation by the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department. She told Giardino how important the program was because her son – former state police trooper Marty Ryfa – had been in a motor vehicle accident.

Funded by the New York State Sheriffs’ Association, the Yellow Dot program is a free service available to individuals of all ages. Yellow Dot kits are available from the Fulton County Sheriffs’ Department, 2712 Route 29.

For information about the Yellow Dot program, or to schedule a community presentation, call the sheriff’s office at (518) 736-2100. More information is available at

By Patricia Older

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