Tip of the Week - February 20, 2018 - Prepare for Medical Emergencies with a Vial of Life

When a medical emergency strikes, often the patient and/or his relatives are unable to give paramedics a brief and accurate medical history including medications, illnesses, and allergies.  That’s why people, especially the elderly and the ill, are encouraged by many local agencies to have a “Vial of Life.” 


“The Vial of Life is a large plastic vial or even plastic baggie with a vial of life decal on it.  The vile or baggie contains a completed Vial of Life form, and may also include a DNR, EKG, and photo,” said CSLEA Chairperson Kenny Ehrman.   “It is usually placed in the refrigerator on the top door shelf, or if it’s a plastic zip top bag, it is attached to the front of the refrigerator with a magnetic clip.   A second Vial of Life decal is placed at your front entrance where paramedics can see it and then know to look in the kitchen for your important medical information.”

How to start a vial of life:

  • Ask your doctor or local fire department for a vial of life form and decal.
  • Read about vial of life and use printable kits if local agencies don’t have them.
  • Fill out form which includes name, blood type, hearing or vision difficulties, current and past medical conditions, medications, allergies, doctor’s contact information.
  • Put the form in plastic vial or baggie.
  • Place vile of life sticker on vial or baggie.
  • Place vial on top shelf of refrigerator door, if using a baggie, place baggie on refrigerator door.
  • Place vial of life sticker on refrigerator door if the vial is inside the refrigerator.
  • Place another vial of life sticker on or near your front door for arriving paramedics to see.