The Times West Virginian

October 10, 2013

File of Life can be big help during emergencies

Information needed by first-responders

By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — In times of emergency, seconds count.

Chris McIntire, director of Marion County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, discussed the File of Life project at Wednesday’s County Commission meeting.

The File of Life is a local version of the national program, Vial of Life, that will give first-responders all the information they need.

Fill out the medical history form, fold them and slip them into the bright red vinyl packet that attaches easily by magnet to your refrigerator.

This gives first-responders all the medical information they may need during an emergency.

There are even forms for the family pets.

“When a family member is having a heart attack, it’s hard to do this,” he said.

“We’re doing everything we can possible to get the public prepared in case of emergency.

“Our goal is to become the best communication center and  homeland security office in the state,” McIntire said. “This is one step.”

The next project, Safe Town, will offer an electronic form of File of Life, he said. It should be available within the next eight months.

“Your information will be linked to the homeland security computers. If you dial 911 through your home address, it will show in our computer with your medical history,” he said.

Randy Elliott, commission president, called File of Life “a wonderful idea.”

“Marion County has the oldest population in all 55 counties. You can see the value this is, no matter what your age is, but especially for senior citizens.”

“It’s such a simple concept but can possibly save lives,” Elliott said.

“Chris takes his job seriously. He wanted to have the best 911 call center in the state, and he certainly is working to that goal.”

Charlie Reese, director of the Marion County Development Authority, said that City of Fairmont will hold two public hearings on Oct. 22 about transferring property at Palatine Park to the county in exchange for the 100 block of Adams Street.

“It’s wonderful, the cooperation of the city and county in transferring the properties,” Elliott said.

“It appears the best solution has been made. It’s a wonderful day to see we’re finally going to be able to accomplish what we wanted at Palatine, and the city will do a great job with the 100 block.

“The actual signing of the deeds takes time. but to know the intent is there for us to agree on is the most important thing at this time.”

Debbie Mann gave a presentation on the Family Resource Network. While most people are aware of some of its programs, such as for families and children, they may not be aware of FRN’s primary function: to provide centralized locations to find resources in the community.

“Our services are free,” she said. “A resource guide is available either hard copy or electronically.”

Commissioners also presented a proclamation of October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month to Pam Thompson of HOPE Inc.

“HOPE is very valuable to Marion County,” Elliott said. “It’s great to see the city of Fairmont is going to acquire the old armory as a home for HOPE. That will help them tremendously with what they do.”

The commission will meet in regular session at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 16, in Room 403, J. Harper Meredith Building, Fairmont.

Email Debra Minor Wilson at dwilson@timeswv.com.