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2 Section LivingWell APRIL 2013 A monthly special section of news & information for seniors Fitness-minded walker sparks ‘flash drive’ trend Wearable on keychains, tiny story devices carry emergency health data by Chris Kenrick n offhand question from a Palo Alto octogenarian has sparked a new product that is being offered free — or nearly free — to local seniors. The “ER INFO Flash Drive” is a tiny datastorage device — marked with a red cross and the words “ER INFO” — that can be carried on a keychain or around the neck. In the event of medical emergency, first responders can retrieve a person’s basic medical data, as well as contact information for next of kin should the patient be unable to speak for him or herself. The flash drives were developed after an 88year-old Palo Alto resident, who makes a habit of walking 2 miles every day, asked for something she could carry that would guide emergency responders should she fall and hit her head. “When I walk I wear my sunglasses and take my house keys, but that’s all I have,” said Joan Griffiths. “Nobody even knows my name or anything about me.” As a service to the community, Avenidas, a nonprofit agency serving Midpeninsula seniors, is offering to load personalized emergency medical data onto the flash drives and supply them to local seniors. A $5 donation is requested. About 500 had been distributed to local seniors as of mid-March. Annie Hagstrom, an Avenidas staff member, is making the rounds of local police, fire and health institutions to familiarize first responders with the devices and to encourage people to watch for them — and use them. “This is wonderful, but only if the emergency departments and first responders support it,” said Hagstrom, who helped to launch the flash-drive initiative. “You have to teach them continually. It’s a false sense of security that just by osmosis (first responders) will know what this is.” Hagstrom has been to police departments, Stanford University Hospital, El Camino Hospital and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation to speak about the flash drives. “We need to do this on a continual basis — once a quarter or every six months,” she said. The flash drives contain emergency data but other information is kept to a minimum, in case of loss. “It doesn’t have your address — nobody’s going to come to your house,” Hagstrom said. A Katie Brigham (continued on page 35) Joan Griffiths, 88, walks 2 miles every day, carrying a flash drive with emergency medical data — just in case. ÜÜÜ°*>œÌœ"˜ˆ˜i°Vœ“ÊUÊ*>œÊÌœÊ7iiŽÞÊUÊÊ«ÀˆÊx]ÊÓä£ÎÊU Page 33

Palo Alto Weekly 04.05.2013 - Section 2

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