By: Jen Blackstock
Have you ever worried that in case of emergency, first responders will not know that you or a loved one has diabetes? Or concerned that a low blood sugar may be interpreted by law enforcement officials as intoxication–especially behind the wheel of a vehicle? What if you wear a Medical ID, but they cannot get to you right away in the case of an accident?
Thomas Cope from Miami, Florida, wondered the same things and came up with a solution– AlertPaws. These warning decals were inspired by Diva, a medical alert dog that works with his little sister, who has type 1 diabetes. Diva is trained to alert people to high, low, or rapidly changing blood sugar levels–thus letting emergency responders and others know when a blood sugar event is occurring.
The family pondered what else they could do to alert responders immediately upon arrival that a diabetic was in their car. They came up with the idea of a window decal. But it couldn’t be just any decal–it had to be easy to identify and easy to read. They played with a few ideas and designs, but then Diva herself provided the inspiration with a friendly nudge of her paw. A paw decal was easy to recognize, especially in the red and white colors common to emergency response teams.
The AlertPaw was born. Thomas began handing out samples at the International Friends for Life Conference hosted by Children With Diabetes, and the response was overwhelming, especially from parents of teenaged drivers with diabetes. Law enforcement officials also responded well, because knowing that an accident involves a diabetic in crisis versus an intoxicated driver can greatly help emergency efforts.
The AlertPaw is a durable decal for vehicle windows, motorcycles, bicycles, or other smooth surfaces. It comes in two sizes: a three-inch round decal and a one-inch square decal. The round version is perfect for home or car windows. Many families place the decal over their child’s regular seat in the car. (Reminder: Never place the decal in a place where vision is obstructed for the driver.) The small square version is useful on documents, such as copies of your vehicle registration, drivers license, passport, or student ID. Some even place it on the cell phones of their phone-loving teenagers.
Thomas is currently promoting the AlertPaw symbol to first responders, as awareness is key in any emergency situation. A portion of each sale will be donated–the Diabetes Research Institute will be the first recipients of the donations.
While AlertPaws do not replace Medical IDs, they do help bring out the most appropriate response to a diabetic in need and are a great addition to any emergency contingency plan for those living with diabetes.
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