Monday, October 15, 2012

Schipske's Efforts Go City-Wide -- Mayor Foster Praises Vial of LIFE

For Immediate Release
From the Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske, 5th District
562 570-6932

Mayor Foster Praises Program As “Simple yet effective”

Long Beach, CA – October 15, 2012 -- It took 6 years after her bid for City Council for Gerrie Schipske, a Registered Nurse Practitioner and former EMT who did ride alongs with the Long Beach Fire Department, to get the VIAL of L.I.F.E. fully implemented in the City of Long Beach, but now that the City has announced it is taking it city-wide, Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske is very pleased. 

“As someone who has worked in our local emergency rooms, I thought it was important to find a way residents could communicate their medical conditions and medications to the paramedics when they responded to a call for service,” explains Schipske. 
“When I walked door to door in the 5th Council District in 2005, I handed out my own ‘Vial of LIFE’ kits that my volunteers and I put together. They were a hit. So after my election I worked with local medical facilities, the Long Beach Fire Department and several charitable organizations to improve the program and make it work for Long Beach,” Schipske notes. 

“Today, the City of Long Beach announced that it is taking the our program and expanding it city-wide. I want to thank Mayor Foster and the Long Beach Fire Department and Long Beach Fire Fighters Association for their strong support of this important effort.”

The Vial of a nation-wide effort to put medical and prescription information into the hands of first responders. L.I.F.E. stands for Life Saving Information in Emergencies. The program is simple. Residents fill out a medical information form and place it inside a pill vial, place the pill vial in the top shelf of the refrigerator and put a magnet on the outside of the refrigerator to let  paramedics know the information is inside the refrigerator. Click here to see brochure.

“The ‘Vial of L.I.F.E.’ program saves lives by speaking for residents who can’t speak for themselves,” Mayor Bob Foster said. “This simple yet effective program will quickly provide the information that 911 responders need when they administer critical help to an injured or sick person who might not be able to speak.”

Schipske has raised several thousands of dollars to launch the VIAL of L.I.F.E. in Long Beach to pay for a website (, printing of medical forms, labels and refrigerators magnets. “Walmart stepped up and donated 10,000 pill vials,” says Schipske. “I ran the medical form by Dr. Steven Shea who heads up the ER at St. Mary Medical Center and works directly with our paramedics so that we know it contains the information that is needed to make quick medical decisions.”

Schipske reports that “senior and  youth volunteers” assemble the kits which she has worked to distribute the Vial of LIFE throughout the City of Long Beach. “We have distributed 3,000 VIAL of L.I.F.E. kits to date. Any resident of Long Beach can pick up a VIAL of L.I.F.E. kit at the locations on the list to the right.” Additionally, 300 VIALS were given to Meals on Wheels for their clients. 

“We also produced a public service announcement with Chief Duree that you can view on our website: VIAL of L.I.F.E. can save your life.” #30

Saturday, July 28, 2012

More than 1,000 VIAL of LIFE Emergency Kits Distributed

Thanks to the hard work of my office and numerous teen and adult volunteers, we have assembled and distributed over 1,000 VIAL of LIFE emergency kits.

The VIAL of L.I.F.E. program is a nationally recognized program that has been in use by hundreds of fire departments for over 35 years. Now it is being provided to the residents of Long Beach.

The concept is simple: provide a way to put important medical information into the hands of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel as quickly as possible so they can know the medical illnesses, medications, and allergies of those who have called for their services.

Everyone has a refrigerator, so why not place the medical information in a pill vial (bottle) and place it inside where it can be found easily? A magnet (or sticker) on the front of the refrigerator (and on the front door of the residence) alerts first responders that the vial can be found inside.

The medical information form provides emergency first responders with the resident's contact information, current medical conditions, medications and other vital information that can be used to quickly and correctly assess what needs to be done. Residents are encouraged to update their medical information form as often as their medical information changes.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske to Launch VIAL of L.I.F.E. for Long Beach

Let Your Refrigerator Do The Talking In Case Of An Emergency
Councilwoman Schipske to launch VIAL of L.I.F.E Program at
St. Mary Medical Center’s Senior Safety Fair

(LONG BEACH, CA; May 29, 2012) – Imagine that you are home alone when you begin experiencing chest pain. You call 9-1-1 and then collapse. Paramedics come to your home but you are unable to give them the information they need about your medical history and your medications. They notice a magnet on your refrigerator that tells them you have a “VIAL of L.I.F.E.” inside the refrigerator. They find the vial and the important information they need.

Beginning May 31st, Long Beach residents will be able to use a “Vial of LIFE (Lifesaving Information in Emergencies)” thanks to the efforts of Fifth District Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske and her partnership with St. Mary Medical Center, the Long Beach Firefighters Association, Walmart and Seaside Printing.

“The VIAL of L.I.F.E is a nationally recognized program that assists emergency medical workers when responding to and treating individuals during home medical emergencies,” explains Councilwoman Schipske who is a Registered Nurse Practitioner and a former Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). “It’s free. It’s simple and it works.”

The Vial of L.I.F.E program (Lifesaving Information for Emergencies) will enable Long Beach firefighters and paramedics to have quick access to medical information as they administer critical help to an injured or sick person during a 9-1-1 call.  A sticker on the residents’ front door and a magnet on the front of the refrigerator, alerts first responders to look inside the refrigerator for medical information. This information is stored inside a large prescription bottle that is placed on the top shelf of a patient’s refrigerator door. In addition to a completed medical form describing a resident’s personal medical history and medications, the vial can contain other essential information such as copy of identification.  Schipske points out that the refrigerator is used because it is centrally located and common in all homes.

“In an emergency, every second counts,” says Councilwoman Schipske. “Putting this important information in the hands of the paramedics when they respond to an emergency can mean the difference between life and death.”
The Vial of L.I.F.E will be introduced to the City of Long Beach during the Senior Safety Fair at the St. Mary Medical Center on Thursday, May 31st from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, located at 1055 Linden Avenue, Long Beach CA 90813.  A booth will be set up at the Parr Health Enhancement Center to provide easy, practical information on how to use the Vial of LIFE.

“St. Mary Medical Center decided to help launch VIAL of L.I.F.E. with me after their CEO, Tom Salerno, went on a paramedic ride-along and saw first-hand the need for such a program,” says Schipske. “St. Mary Medical Center is adding the Vial of L.I.F.E.  initiative to their Emergency Preparedness program for senior residents in Long Beach. I am excited to have St. Mary Medical Center team up with us on this important program.” Schipske notes that the medical information form used for VIAL of L.I.F.E. was reviewed by the St. Mary Medical Center Emergency Room Director, Dr. Stephen Shea.

Schipske adds that several other organizations are stepping forward to help launch VIAL of L.I.F.E. for Long Beach, including: Walmart, which has provided 1,000 large pill vials (bottles); the Long Beach Firefighters Association (Local 372) which is paying for a portion of the costs of printing labels and magnets; and Seaside Printing Company which is providing printing services. 

VIAL of L.I.F.E. kits include: a large pill vial, instruction sheet, medical information sheet, refrigerator magnet and a sticker to be placed on front doors.

“VIAL of L.I.F.E. kits will be available at St. Mary Medical Center Senior Services at 1055 Linden Avenue, and the 5th Council District Neighborhood office at 2760 N. Studebaker.

For more information, go on line to: or contact the Office of Councilwoman Gerrie Schipske at or by telephone: 562 570-6932.