SCARBOROUGH – A pilot program in Maine aimed at saving lives at car accidents kicks off Saturday, Oct. 13, at several enrollment sites, including in Scarborough and South Portland.

Gorham Police Department has spearheaded the drive for the Yellow Dot program in Cumberland County. Under the program, a yellow dot sticker placed on the rear of a car will indicate that vital medical information about a car’s regular driver or passenger is in a packet located in the glove compartment.

Several other police departments have joined the effort to launch the program free to area residents.

“I think it’s a program that is very worthwhile,” South Portland Police Chief Edward Googins said Tuesday, “particularly for folks” with medical issues.

In case of an emergency, the informational packet would aid first responders at the scene in providing critical life-saving measures to those who perhaps were unable to speak. Googins said the Yellow Dot packet information would be “very helpful. It’s a document, even if people can talk.”

Scarborough Police Chief Robert Moulton said Tuesday the program is similar to one Scarborough has for homeowners posting important information on cards placed on refrigerators. Moulton said the more information available to first responders enables them to better serve.

“I’m definitely encouraging people to participate,” Moulton said about Yellow Dot.

Public safety officials from several communities will join state officials in launching the Yellow Dot program officially at a press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11, outside Gorham Municipal Center, 75 South St.

Senior citizens in Gorham/Westbrook Triad, a coalition of senior citizens, police and community providers, have played a leading role in the program.

“This is for everybody,” David Garthe, who co-chairs Gorham/Westbrook Triad, said at its meeting last week.

Gorham Police Officer Ted Hatch, who has been instrumental in developing the program, said, “It is pointed towards seniors.”

Hatch said signup takes only about four minutes. The Yellow Dot kit contains a personal information card and a yellow decal, which will be placed on the driver’s side rear window. Those enrolling using a pencil will fill out the informational card that will include an attached photo.

Photos will be taken at enrollment for those who do not bring with them head-and-shoulder-type pictures. Besides important medical information, packets will include emergency contact telephone numbers and choice of hospital.

Residents then will place the vinyl packets in their vehicle glove compartments.

Officials are hoping the Yellow Dot program takes off statewide.

The program is the first one in Maine, but Hatch said it is gaining interest in other counties such as Lincoln and York. “Others want to roll it out in their communities,” Hatch said.

While Cumberland County is hosting the pilot program, residents although residing in other counties will not be turned away at enrollment sites.

The pilot program has been locally funded. The town of Gorham donated $18,000 to help jumpstart the program. Last week, Gorham/Westbrook Triad received from Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce $1,000 generated in a community fundraiser.

Joyce credited the triad group as a leader in the Yellow Dot drive.

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