Fire Department looks to improve care for residents

Vials of Life kits now available at Town Hall, library

FRANCESTOWN — Residents can now pick up a free “Vial of Life” to help assure that first responders have accurate and up-to-date medical information for emergency situations.

The volunteer Fire Department in Francestown looked into Vials of Life last year, but could not afford the cost, Rescue Capt. Celeste Lunetta said Tuesday. For the Fire Department’s 75th anniversary last year, she said the rescue squad was looking for a community health and safety-based service for residents and the idea of vials came up. Lunetta said the vials are about $1 each, but since the department would want to buy 800 or more vials, the Fire Department could not afford the expense.

According to Lunetta, the vial looks like a prescription bottle and contains a form one fills out with current medical history information, health conditions and current medications. Once the form is filled out, Lunetta said an individual does not need to provide additional information, but the vial should be kept in a visible location, or in the fridge. Lunetta said this is a common location since many medications are kept in a refrigerator.

“It’s a very good idea for anyone who lives alone, on a lot of medications, or under care [for] a lot of conditions. It may lead them to find out what’s wrong,” Lunetta said. “It’s one thing you can do to make your care more accurate in situations where time is of the essence.”

She said that along with keeping the vial in the home, residents with vials can put a sticker on their door to let first responders who enter know there is a Vial of Life available. The vials ensure that first responders can avoid things a victim may be allergic to, especially if the victim is unresponsive, Lunetta said.

Volunteer Firefighter and EMT Henry Camieand of Francestown continued to pursue the idea of vials throughout 2013 and discovered late this year that Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center was distributing batches of vials to surrounding towns that were interested. Lunetta said Camieand contacted Dartmouth, and the first batch of vials are now available at the Francestown Town Hall and the George Holmes Bixby Library.

Francestown Fire Chief Larry Kulgren said in an interview Tuesday that the challenge for people with vials in their home is to keep them updated, noting that a person’s doctor could help them fill out the form.

“Put the vial in an easily accessible place where first responders can find them — near a medicine cabinet or where they keep medications,” Kulgren said.

Since allergies to medications is a concern, Kulgren said having a vial can provide emergency responders with information when someone is unresponsive. “We will not be able to interview them, especially if no one else is around.”

Kulgren said there are lots of vials at the two locations for anyone interested. Once all the vials from this first batch are gone, Kulgren said the Fire Department can put in a request for another free batch from Dartmouth.

“It’s very important that we do this for the community,” Kulgren said.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or

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