'File of Life' Program Looking to Help Save Lives in Putnam County

from WSAZ News

WINFIELD, WV -- When it comes to an emergency, every second is key for first responders. But a new program in Winfield is looking to give those crews an extra tool to help them during their response.

The program is called "File of Life," which gives each household in city limits a packet of information, which emergency responders call their "medical blueprints." In those packets there are forms for each member of your family and it includes important information such as your medical history, medications and emergency contacts.

"People don't typically think straight," said Stephanie Watson, education director for Putnam County EMS. "It's sometimes hard for emergency responders to think straight, but that's what we're looking for is that information very quickly."

Here's how the program works: when you receive a "File of Life" packet, a sticker is placed above your light switch, alerting emergency crews that the "File of Life" folder is on your refrigerator.

Marsha Postle, program coordinator of File of Life, is the brains behind the program. She normally dedicates her time as a crossing guard at schools in Winfield, but her last few weeks have been dedicated to going door-to-door to every house in the city to hand out those packets.

"I've literally gone from one end of the city to the other," Postle said.

The packets also include smaller copies which can fit in your child's backpack or your wallet, which Postle says gives everyone a chance to have a copy of that information on them wherever they go. City leaders say that while "File of Life" forms are used for senior citizens in several communities in some form, they believe Winfield is the first city to offer them to people of all ages. The packets only cost around $1,200 to put together, but city leaders say you can't put a price on saving lives.

"This is a huge, huge life-saving project that can make minutes, even seconds count," Watson said.

There are 1,200 homes in Winfield, and Postle says she has been able to go to all of them to drop off packets. However, if someone thinks they didn't get a copy, they can call Winfield City Hall and make arrangements to get one. EMS workers in the county say, so far, these packets have already been used in two different emergency situations that they're aware.