Residents encouraged to pick up “File of Life” kits

by beth on May 4, 2022

Post image for Residents encouraged to pick up “File of Life” kits

Above: The Town is giving away magnet kits that could make a difference in medical emergencies.

Southborough’s Fire & Public Health Department are giving out “File of Life” kits. Residents are encouraged to pick up the special refrigerator magnets. Updatable inserts allow emergency services to get a quick medical history when residents are unable to provide one themselves.

File of Life Program flyerMagnet inserts unfold to reveal info on medical conditions, emergency and physician contacts, allergies, medications, and more.

A website for the kits promotes:

Medical emergencies can happen anytime. When they do, there is confusion, panic and urgency. Paramedics arrive on the scene with no information about the person in need. Seconds count – they can make the difference between life and death. Does the patient have prior medical conditions? Allergies? What medications are they taking? Who do they want us to call? How do we contact their family or friends? File of Life puts these answers at their fingertips. It allows first responders to immediately begin the best possible treatment, notify loved ones, and pass this vital data on to awaiting physicians at the emergency room. File of Life has already saved thousands of lives. It is an absolute asset to emergency preparedness, and peace of mind, for every household and community across the nation.

The kits are made available as part of the Public Health Department’s regional partnership with the Greater Boroughs Partnership for Health.

You can pick up a free kit at the Southborough Senior Center or in the Health Department (also at Cordaville Hall). The SFD will also be handing them out when they respond to calls.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 M May 4, 2022 at 12:33 PM

Can someone please tell the Fire And Public Health Department that most of our refrigerators today are NO LONGER MAGNETIC!

I remember the old days when we put an orange sticker on the outside and the Department gave us a little medical cup to put inside on the fridge door shelf with the info on a piece of paper. This system helps if you have more than one potential patient in a house. One can have different names, doctors and preferred hospitals within one home.

Besides, Who wants four or more of these magnets on the fridge?! or wherever you have a magnetic surface.
There must be more tech savvy way to do this. AH, but there IS! Someone please help these guys.

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2 beth May 4, 2022 at 12:45 PM

I don’t know if you’re right that most refrigerators don’t hold magnets. When stainless steel first became popular, the magnets didn’t work. That changed over time. In my old house we didn’t have stainless. In my new home, we have one that looks stainless but does take magnets.

I do hear you about the magnet issue and the eyesore of multiple magnets. But the problem with other storage systems is expecting first responders to find them.

Although kits could be helpful to anyone, I don’t think they really think families will put them all over their fridge. I think the main expectation is that if someone in your household based on age or medical history has a higher likelihood of an emergency call, the information is easily found.

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3 Northeast22 May 5, 2022 at 11:15 AM

Why would “M” complain about the fire dept handing something out to be nice? You don’t have to go pick it up if you don’t want to. Plus have you ever been inside a seniors home? They don’t exactly have brand new appliances like stainless steel fridges. During a medical emergency the file of life needs to be displayed visible at 3am. The small nice things people complain about…

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4 Resident May 5, 2022 at 1:32 PM

Why would you bother to complain about someone complaining?

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5 M May 5, 2022 at 4:52 PM

Ok. This may seem stupid to some folks.
But my point was that this new system will not provide a universally consistent access point of information to first responders in an emergency.
Their OLDER system (the one with the sticker outside and cup of data inside the fridge) could be consistently used in every household. It also could hold more information.
I researched fridges last year and it was extremely difficult to find one that had a Magnetic surface. I used to love putting things on the fridge. Easy for the whole family to see. Not easy to buy a family-sized fridge with that surface now.
Then the new system limits your knowledge to one family member or resident. NOTICE the new alert magnet? One sex (outdated reference btw), one doctor, one emergency contact. Every household member in my family has different responses and even different hospital choices based on their care providers and insurance.
All I wanted to do was encourage the Fire Dept or Public Health to recognize the drawbacks of this system and consider an alternative that would be more useful and ACCURATE.
If you don’t agree with me, then go get a magnet. Or a dozen of them if you have a large family. You will feel safer.

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6 beth May 6, 2022 at 7:53 AM

I actually didn’t understand your first comment. I interpreted that the sticker was on the cup that was inside the Fridge! I can see the benefits of the version you describe. But I wonder if there were people unwilling to use a sticker, worried about ruining their Fridge.

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7 Northeast22 May 7, 2022 at 1:09 PM

I can’t believe that this article is being criticized so much. Sad. Like I said it’s a free service. Don’t complain people.

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8 Taylor West May 9, 2022 at 8:41 AM

Hi M,
Thanks for the feedback. We are aware of the history of using the small capsules that can go in your fridge. We chose to go back to the magnets because the capsules retain moisture and when taken out, the print has faded to be illegible. As you can imagine in an emergency this is not ideal. Hope this helps in clarification of magnets vs capsules!

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9 resident May 9, 2022 at 10:56 AM

Taylor,

Thank you for doing this for our citizens. We should be pleased that your and the fire department are thinking ahead. In an emergency, time is of the essence. I went to the Senior Center the other day and picked up 2, one for my mother and one for myself. There is no need to wait until an emergency and hope that all the information is correct. No time like the present. I appreciate your efforts and will take advantage of making sure my loved one’s information is readily available when the next emergency comes along. Thank you!

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