Texas town rolls out WHALE program to provide aid to first responders

WHALE stickers help first responders better manage emergency calls by providing information such as the the child’s name, medical information and contact number


By Ruth Campbell
Odessa American

ODESSA, Texas — To help hospitals and first responders better manage emergency calls, Medical Center Hospital and Texas Regional Advisory Council have partnered to roll out WHALE stickers.

WHALE stands for ‘we have a little emergency’ and there will be a sticker for the back of a child’s car seat, two smaller ones for the sides and two that go in the window of a car. MCH Emergency Management Coordinator Amanda Everett said the stickers will have information such as the child’s name, medical information and emergency contact numbers.

WHALE stickers are stuck to the back car seats and include the child’s name, medical information, phone numbers and emergency contacts. There are also smaller stickers that go on either side of the car seat and in the window of the car.

“These help to bring attention to the paramedics or firemen …,” Everett said. “There’s an instruction sheet in the plastic envelope and it says approximately 250,000 kids are injured each year due to accidents on our roadways. We did have an incident here in Ector County where there was a child involved in a motor vehicle collision and the driver was incapacitated. We didn’t have any contact or any information on the child, so it would have been really handy to have one of these stickers.”

Everett said emergency providers and responders know that children ride with grandparents, babysitters or other caregivers that might not know all the child’s allergies, if they’re taking medications or other things they might have been diagnosed with.

All the information on the sticker helps the paramedics and people in the emergency room working on a patient have a better picture of the person. The WHALE stickers come in little plastic sleeves.

“We’re going to start talking to daycares and we’re going to have some (WHALE stickers) in the ER. We’ll have some up on our pediatric units so that we can start getting them out and getting them on car seats to help Odessa Fire and Rescue to have some more information …,” Everett said.

The stickers will be given to all the hospitals in the 17-county area that MCH serves. People may come to the emergency department at MCH to get a sticker, or if they want to pass them out at a Neighborhood Watch, they can visit the Texas J Regional Advisory Council website or call 325-456-2370.

The WHALE identification and information package was created by a caregiver named Connie Day from Richmond, Va., who wondered what would happen to children in her care if there was a car accident, the pamphlet said.

EMS Chief Rodd Huber said anytime extra tools can be provided to first responders it is beneficial.

He said sometimes the mother or father of a child is a patient themselves and cannot give any information. Usually, if a child is 5 or 6, they can tell you everything, Huber said.

He added that January of this year has been the busiest month ever for EMS calls with 1,848.

In January 2017, there were 1,495 runs, and in January 2016, there were 1,432 runs. He said he hasn’t done a breakdown yet, but they are seeing car wrecks, strokes, heart attacks, flu and medical trauma, among other things.

“Our guys are running their tails off. They really are,” Huber said.

Copyright 2018 Odessa American

 

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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