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Alameda County, CA,

Community Services

Vial of Life

The Alameda County Fire Department supports a Vial of Life Program throughout the areas within its jurisdiction. The Vial of Life is a small container that contains a Medical History Form. The Vial of Life Program is designed to help provide emergency responders with immediate patient information in the event of a medical emergency. This has been accomplished by developing a standardized method for the storage and identification of vital medical information. The program consists of training, a standardized vial(s), medical information sheet, and identification stickers.

Instructions and Use

The first step of participating in the program is to contact the nearest Alameda County Fire Department Station or phone the Public Education Division at (510) 632-3473 ext. 1321 or (925) 833-3473 ext. 1321 for a vial(s), medical information sheet, and identification stickers. While completing the medical information sheet, it is very important to print all information as clearly as possible and to consult with your Doctor if you are unable to answer specific medical questions. After the medical information sheet is completed, it is placed inside of the plastic vial. Bright colored "Vial Alert Stickers" are then placed on the vial, the refrigerator door and the front window adjacent to the entrance or door of the residence. As nearly all homes have a refrigerator that can be easily located, the top shelf of the refrigerator has been adopted as the standard vial storage location.

In the event of an emergency, rescuers will see the alert stickers and recognize the presence of a vial of life. Since the Fire Department sponsors this program, they know exactly where to locate the vial. Once the vial is retrieved, life saving information may be obtained, even if the patient is unable to speak. The information contained inside the vial will identify the patient's current medical history, allergies and medications, as well as insurance information and who to contact in the event of an emergency.

The Vial of Life Program is designed to speak for you when you are unable to speak for yourself. The information contained within the vial will provide pre-hospital and hospital providers with essential details that will aid in providing appropriate medical treatment. You may have a separate vial for each member of the household. When more than one vial is used, be sure to place the persons name on the outside of each vial. If you have any questions or wish to request a Vial of Life package, please contact the Alameda County Fire Department Public Education Division at (510) 632-3473 ext. 1321 or (925) 833-3473 ext. 1321.