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SCHIPSKE’S VIAL OF LIFE PROGRAM GOES CITY-WIDE –
Mayor Foster Praises Program As “Simple yet effective”
Long Beach, CA – October 16, 2012 -- It took 6 years after her bid for City Council for Gerrie Schipske, a Registered Nurse Practitioner and former EMT who did ride alongs with the Long Beach Fire Department, to get the VIAL of L.I.F.E. fully implemented in the City of Long Beach, but now that the City has announced it is taking it city-wide, Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske is very pleased.
“As someone who has worked in our local emergency rooms, I thought it was important to find a way residents could communicate their medical conditions and medications to the paramedics when they responded to a call for service,” explains Schipske. “When I walked door to door in the 5th Council District in 2005, I handed out my own ‘Vial of LIFE’ kits that my volunteers and I put together. They were a hit. So after my election I worked with local medical facilities, the Long Beach Fire Department and several charitable organizations to improve the program and make it work for Long Beach,” Schipske notes. “Today, the City of Long Beach announced that it is taking the our program and expanding it city-wide. I want to thank Mayor Foster and the Long Beach Fire Department and Long Beach Fire Fighters Association for their strong support of this important effort.”
The Vial of L.I.F.E.is a nation-wide effort to put medical and prescription information into the hands of first responders. L.I.F.E. stands for Life Saving Information in Emergencies. The program is simple. Residents fill out a medical information form and place it inside a pill vial, place the pill vial in the top shelf of the refrigerator and put a magnet on the outside of the refrigerator to let paramedics know the information is inside the refrigerator.
“The ‘Vial of L.I.F.E.’ program saves lives by speaking for residents who can’t speak for themselves,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “This simple yet effective program will quickly provide the information that 911 responders need when they administer critical help to an injured or sick person who might not be able to speak.”
Schipske has raised several thousands of dollars to launch the VIAL of L.I.F.E. in Long Beach to pay for a website (www.lbvialoflife.com), printing of medical forms, labels and refrigerators magnets. “Walmart stepped up and donated 10,000 pill vials,” says Schipske. “I ran the medical form by Dr. Steven Shea who heads up the ER at St. Mary Medical Center and works directly with our paramedics so that we know it contains the information that is needed to make quick medical decisions.”
Schipske reports that “senior and youth volunteers” assemble the kits which she has worked to distribute the Vial of LIFE throughout the City of Long Beach. “We have distributed 3,000 VIAL of L.I.F.E. kits to date. Any resident of Long Beach can pick up a VIAL of L.I.F.E. kit at a number of locations listed below.” Additionally, 300 VIALS were given to Meals on Wheels for their clients.
“We also produced a public service announcement with Chief Duree that you can view on our website: www.lbvialoflife.com. VIAL of L.I.F.E. can save your life.”
Locations: Neighborhood Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, 2760 Studebaker Road, Long Beach; LB Senior Center, 1150 E. 4th; St. Mary Medical Center Senior Services, 1050 Linden Avenue; Memorial Medical Center Senior Services, 2801 Atlantic Avenue; LB Health Department, 2525 Grand Avenue; Walmart Pharmacy Centers, Town Center, Long Beach and Downtown Walmart.
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