Do First Responders Really Look for Medical IDs?

How MedicAlert and first responders work together to protect you.

During a crisis, it’s always a huge relief to see a first responders arrive on the scene. These are the firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), and paramedics we trust to save lives and property during accidents, disasters, or medical emergencies.

Because they arrive quickly on the scene and are usually the first to provide emergency medical care, first responders are a vital part of how MedicAlert protects you in an emergency.

How do first responders use MedicAlert?

We all rely on first responders in a crisis. And first responders rely on MedicAlert to supply the information they need to deliver fast, accurate care.

All first responders have some level of medical training. Police officers and other law enforcement usually have, at a minimum, CPR certification. They are also often given more advanced training including tactical medical certification to address emergencies before firefighters, paramedics, or EMTs arrive on the scene.

Firefighters are required to have EMT certification, and EMTs and paramedics are highly trained, skilled medical providers. With 240 million calls made to 911 each year in the U.S., these first responders are the first line personnel to deal with rapidly unfolding medical emergencies.

When a first responder arrives on the scene of a medical emergency and the patient is wearing a MedicAlert ID, the first responder has immediate access to important information they need to make sound decisions and provide the right care quickly.

Likewise, MedicAlert goes above and beyond the ID, allowing you to store a complete medical history and emergency health profile. Beyond what’s engraved on your ID, MedicAlert protects you by relaying your vital medical information to emergency medical personnel. MedicAlert’s live Emergency Response Team is on call 24/7 for first responders, to share your medical history, allergies, medications, emergency contacts, and more.

Think about it. If you’re diabetic, it’s vital for first responders to be aware of your condition and that you may need glucose. If an EMT knows you’re on blood thinners, they’ll be careful to assess for internal bleeding. And if you have any kind of medical implant, emergency personnel need to know so that they don’t risk injuring you during treatment. There are many types of medical conditions, allergies, medications, and medical devices that have a huge impact on how you should be treated in an emergency.

Time to treatment is critical in a medical emergency. If your health information is not readily available, precious time can be lost as first responders try to figure out details that affect your treatment. The outcome of medical emergencies can be made better or worse based on what first responders can find out quickly in these situations. MedicAlert provides first responders with the information they need to give you the help you need.

Do first responders look for medical IDs?

It’s easy to see how a medical ID could be useful and even lifesaving in a medical emergency. But they only work if a first responder knows to look for them. Do first responders really know to check for a medical ID?

The answer is a resounding yes. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s National Standard Curriculum for First Responders, first responders must assess the scene of a medical emergency in several ways, with duties including “searching for medical identification emblems as a guide to appropriate emergency medical care.” First responders are trained to check your wrist and neck for a medical ID.

MedicAlert IDs, along with membership in a Protection Plan, offer first responders details beyond what is immediately available on the ID. To help educate first responders on this and to teach them to always look for medical IDs, MedicAlert Foundation offers free training to first responders.

Can a medical ID really help me in an emergency?

The short answer is – yes, absolutely. No matter what chronic medical conditions you have been diagnosed with, in an emergency first responders need as much information as possible to choose the right care. This includes medical history, medications, allergies, and more. 

A medical ID can be a vital part of sharing this information. This is especially true if you’re unable to share the information yourself due to an accident or medical emergency. In these cases, MedicAlert can be your voice, relaying details that first responders can use to provide fast and accurate care.

Membership in a MedicAlert Protection Plan adds yet another layer of protection to your medical ID as well. Members enjoy benefits such as:

  • 24/7 live Emergency Response Team to provide first responders with your medical information
  • A robust digital health profile that contains all of your critical health information
  • Emergency contact notification so your loved ones can be by your side quickly
  • Document storage for items like treatment plans or medical device instructions
  • A record of care directives and end-of-life wishes like your DNR status
  • A printable health profile that you can use for medical appointments
  • Detailed patient instructions for care, such as the use of rescue medications
How does MedicAlert’s partnership with RapidSOS benefit you?

Alongside our Emergency Response Team’s capabilities, MedicAlert has also partnered with RapidSOS to expand the availability of your health information to first responders using the latest technology available to 911 centers. This is another way MedicAlert is working with first responders to improve emergency outcomes. 

RapidSOS is a platform that provides 911 operators with enhanced data to improve emergency response. MedicAlert works with RapidSOS to make our members’ vital medical information available to the 911 operator, so they can dispatch the right resources, and brief first responders even before they arrive on scene

When first responders know important details before they arrive at the scene of an emergency, they can be prepared to act quickly with the right treatment. 

Imagine a scenario where having medical information in advance would help first responders provide better care. If a 911 operator has information indicating the patient being responded to has a bleeding disorder, medical professionals could be prepared with the correct factor needed to control bleeding at the scene. If a police officer knows the person they’re attending to has epilepsy, they’re less likely to misinterpret their behavior as aggressive. Or if the patient has hypertension, emergency responders won’t waste time trying to diagnose the source of a high blood pressure reading since they know high pressure is the patient’s baseline. 

When you combine MedicAlert’s rich store of  medical information with RapidSOS’s delivery of that information to 911 operators, it greatly enhances the ability of first responders to provide fast, accurate care to people experiencing medical emergencies – and increases the odds of a positive outcome. It’s a win for everyone.

What should you engrave on a MedicAlert ID to help first responders?

Each MedicAlert ID comes with free custom engraving so that you can personalize your new ID with any details that first responders should have immediate access to. Here’s some key information to be sure to include:

  • Serious health conditions
  • Any critical medications you take
  • Allergies that can cause anaphylaxis
  • Implanted medical devices you use
  • Any other important details you want to be highly visible for first responders

With this information engraved on a high-quality MedicAlert ID, you give first responders a head start on deciding on an effective treatment when every second counts.But at MedicAlert, we know there’s more to you than the few lines that can be engraved on your medical bracelet or necklace. That’s why we enable you to securely store a detailed health history, and we relay your complete medical information to first responders so they get the whole picture – including allergies, current medications, medical devices, past surgeries, and more.

Sources: ACEP, First Responder National Standard Curriculum, Firefighters Support Alliance, NENA, RapidSOS