File of Life Program

File of Life Overview

The File of Life program helps members of the Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Police and Fire Departments provide services at times when you or a family member may not be able to communicate effectively due to medical reasons or personal injury.

Residents with severe medical problems, seniors, and other interested citizens are provided a free File of Life packet. The packet consists of a program door decal, a File of Life Information Card and a vinyl cardholder for placement on your refrigerator door.

The File of Life information card has areas to record personal information concerning medical conditions, drug allergies, emergency contact numbers for friends and family members, doctors information, prescription information and any special circumstances Rescue personnel should know.

In an emergency, rescue workers responding to your home will look for the File of Life card on your refrigerator door. Your File of Life information will help guide on-scene treatment, notification of your doctor and your family members. Immediate access to this information greatly helps rescue personnel provide the best in quality care

Program Founding

The File of Life idea was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut a few years ago in a slightly different form as the Vial of Life, which was to be kept inside the refrigerator. But the small vial, with a piece of paper containing medical information inside of it, kept getting lost. In addition, when moisture accumulated in the vial, the information became unreadable. The emergency personnel don't have time to clean out the refrigerator to find the vial, said Ishler, who helped organize the program.

Across the nation, advocates and organizations for the elderly, teaming up with police, fire officials, emergency rescue units, life and health insurance businesses and local government personnel are supporting this simple idea in kits already distributed to dozens of communities. The File of Life is rapidly expanding and is now available throughout the entire country.

File of Life Card

In addition to the File of Life for the refrigerator, a compact version is also available for a person to carry in a wallet or purse. A card containing the same medical information is enclosed in the plastic case that is with the person at all times.

This personal wallet size version is an invaluable resource to emergency medical teams responding to critical, life-threatening situations. Having instant access to medical facts and data can make the difference when every second counts.

Benefits of a File of Life

The File of Life provides a substantial preventive step that seniors can take. Its visibility and readability ensure that emergency personnel can access it quickly when responding to a call. Police Officers and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) have assured us that the information contained in the File of Life would not only be helpful, but potentially life-saving. Listing the person to contact when an emergency occurs is of particular value to officers.

Benefits to Each Individual

  • Assurance that proper persons will be notified quickly
  • Easy access to potentially life-saving information
  • Peace of mind knowing they will have prompt and quality care
  • Renewed sense of community spirit

Benefits to Emergency Rescue Teams

  • Corrective treatment can begin at once
  • Instantly know medical history of patient

Benefits to Hospital Emergency Staff

  • No wasted time getting information from a confused patient
  • On arrival, data is immediately available to medical staff

Benefits to Police Officers

  • Faster help for citizens in emergencies
  • Maximum use of officers' time

Imagine the Scenario

Imagine this scenario, an elderly woman has fallen and can't get up, but she manages to push her emergency alert button before passing out. What happens to the woman once the EMTs arrive if they cannot quickly figure out what her medical history is?

If the EMTs cannot determine how to best treat her, the emergency button may not have helped much. Suppose, however, the medics had immediate access to her medical history, a File of Life right there on her refrigerator door. This program is available today.

Board of Directors

The File of Life's Board of Directors is well aware of what is necessary to help the elderly in emergency situations. They consist of an:

  • Attorney
  • Business Professional and Doctor
  • Certified Public Accountant
  • Chief of Police
  • Council on Aging Director
  • District Attorney
  • EMT Chief
  • Fire Chief
  • Life Insurance Actuary
  • Sheriff
  • State Senator
  • Triad Coordinator

Sign Up for File of Life

You can pick up a File of Life at Ottawa County Senior Resources, you can also visit the File of Life website.