City launches new in-home safety tool for vulnerable residents

File of Life program gives emergency responders access to patient medical history

Guelph, ON, April 10, 2015 – The City of Guelph’s emergency services has launched a new in-home safety tool for Guelph and Wellington County residents who have serious or complicated medical histories.

The File of Life program, which replaces Vial for Life, gives emergency first responders quick access to a patient’s medical history during an emergency.

In the past a patient’s medical history was written on a piece of paper and placed inside a medicine bottle stored in the fridge. A Vial for Life fridge magnet would indicate to an emergency first responder of its existence. However, the medicine bottle’s location wasn’t always easy to find.

With the new program, supported by Safe Communities Guelph/Eramosa Township, Guelph Health Link, Community Care Access Centre, and Canadian Mental Health, residents record critical medical information on a magnet that is placed on the outside of the fridge—a place that is highly visible to an emergency first responder.

“When responding to a 9-1-1 call there are times when a patient’s medical history is undetermined due to a variety of factors such an intoxication, unconsciousness, or dementia. The File of Life information provides paramedics, police, and firefighters with quick and easy access to a patient’s medical history including pre-exiting medical conditions, medication types, and known allergies. With this knowledge emergency first responders can administer the most appropriate medical care based on a patient’s health information,” says Leanne Swantko, deputy chief of Guelph-Wellington Emergency Medical Service.

She adds, “The Vial for Life program will still be recognized by emergency first responders, but residents are encouraged to use the new File for Life fridge magnet.”

Residents can pick up a File of Life magnet at the City’s annual Emergency Preparedness Day on May 6 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the West End Community Centre, 21 Imperial Road South.

Magnets are also available at the Clair Road Emergency Services Centre, various doctor’s offices, pharmacies, Guelph Independent Living, and Wellington Social Housing facilities. In Guelph/Eramosa Township, residents can call Robbin Wood, chair of Safe Communities, at 519-825-6994 to request a magnet which will be delivered to their residence.

The File for Life program was initially funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as part of the City’s one time community paramedicine grant. The program has also received financial support from Guelph Health Link through the purchase of additional File for Life magnets.

For more information

Leanne Swantko
Deputy Chief
Guelph-Wellington Emergency Medical Service
519-822-1260 extension 2105
leanne.swantko@guelph.ca