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July 26, 2011
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Okla. police add emergency contact technology

The clip-on dots contain a number that medics can use to access medical records

By Nick DeMoss
The Sand Springs Leader

SAND SPRINGS, Okla. — Sand Springs police are safer than ever thanks to advances in technology and a little red dot.

Created by invisibleBracelet, In Case of Emergency Dots, or ICEDOTS, provide emergency crews with important medical information that can help save lives.

The back of the dots, which can clip onto clothing, contains a number that paramedics can use to access detailed medical records entered by the wearer such as allergies, pre-existing conditions and emergency contact information.

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Medical personnel have special access to a victim's medical information, but in an emergency, citizens can text the dot's pin number to 51020 and receive pre-selected vital information via text message.

Although they are worn constantly, the department hasn't had to use the devices yet, Carter said.

The ICEDOTS are worn on the outside of officer's bullet-resistant vests for easy access in an emergency situation.

Carter wasn't aware of any other departments using the technology in the state, he said. Sand Springs Police Department officials strive to lead the way in innovation, Carter said.

"We pride ourselves on being on the cutting edge," he said. "I think it's just a mindset. You can make up your mind that you're going to give your employees the best tools possible."

The idea came when Carter bought one of the devices for his wife while she was training for a marathon. An avid cyclist, he then bought one for himself.

It wasn't long before Carter realized the possibilities the dots held for protecting Sand Springs officers. The dots are now required when officers are on-duty, but can be worn off-duty as well.

"Not only can officers wear them on their vests, but when they exercise and are off duty, too," Carter said. "It's a part of trying to encourage a healthy lifestyle."

The dots are available for public purchase and retail for about $30, and a $10 annual fee. The police department covers the cost for officers.

The same technology is also available as a card that fits into a wallet and on a keychain. When Carter isn't wearing his police vest, he keeps the card in his wallet behind his driver's license, because paramedics will likely look there when trying to identify victims, he said.

The University of Oklahoma Sooners football team uses the same ICEDOT technology for their players, said invisible Bracelet Marketing Director Natalie Brown. Brown also plans to meet with officials from Oklahoma State University about implementing the devices, she said.

Brown recently assisted families at Special Olympics event, where participants with conditions affecting their communication were given the dots in case of emergency, she said.

"The you can have the device tell you which dorm the participants are in if they get lost," she said.

The company is working with the American Ambulance Association to train paramedics across the nation to use the technology, Brown said. Tulsa Emergency Medical Services Authority employees have already been trained and are familiar with the devices.

Medical information entered into the system is secure, and the company monitors who accesses the information, Brown said.

For Carter, the decision to use the dots came with the added benefit of helping the local economy -- invisibleBracelet is based in Tulsa. Fewer than 10 employees work in their office in the Blue Dome District.

"We talk about economic recovery, and this is one of the things we do to support the local economy," Carter said. "We're finding some of our best solutions right here under our nose."

Reprinted with permission from the Sand Springs Leader.



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