Re: list of emergency contacts for residents
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2018 11:18:40 -0800 (PST)
Hello all —

Here’s a totally different way to do this that avoids the issue of privacy, 
access to the info when needed, and the work needed by one or more members to 
collect the info.

Mid Atlantic Cohousing is participating in the FILE OF LIFE program for its 
member communities. (We’ll be happy to share with everyone!)

File of Life is a NATIONAL program for alerting emergency and 1st responders to 
critical information needed during a crisis.  It’s a low-tech pocket device 
that attaches by magnet to your refrigerator.  In the pocket there is a medical 
information card to be filled out by each person in the household.  Because 
this is a national program emergency workers are trained to look on the 
refrigerator when they enter a home.  They grab the FoL, read it to assist them 
and take the information w/ them to the hospital. 

The medical card to fill out covers everything:  contact info, medications,  
allergies, etc. etc. etc.

Each person maintains their own information.  No privacy issues. The 
information is always accessible on the refrigerator.  No one has to make 
repeated requests to individuals to provide information.  

But how do you get people to fill out the cards?  One good way is to use this 
as an opportunity for some community building.  Do this as an activity either 
as part of your regular meeting time or as a fun stand alone get together in 
the CH for munchies and filling out the cards.  If you have a risk management 
team or a community life team this may a good activity for them to spear head.

You can purchase these in bulk from File of Life.  Min. order 50 @$.89. Comes 
w/ 1 card.  Additional cards:  $.10

A pack of 5 of these on Amazon costs $15.00 plus $8.95 Shipping (NOT available 
via PRIME.)

MAC has them available for $2.00 per + S&H.   No minimum.  Each one comes w/ 3 
medical information cards.  Don’t need all three?  Share w/ a neighbor who has 
more household members.  Need extra?  Ask one of your neighbors who has 

This is a very good way to get critical information from members into a 
nationally recognized program format that never leaves your house.  I hope you 
will consider the File of Life program for the members in your community.

If you want to purchase from MAC, please drop me an email and I’ll send you the 
ordering and payment information.  We have about 100 of these in stock.

Zabaldo [at]

BTW — File of Life supersedes an older program called VIAL of Life.  Used to 
fill out the info, store it in a glass vial which you then put in your freezer. 
 You can visualize the complications of an EMT rifling through your freezer 
looking for a glass vial w/ your info only to find out the vial had broken and 
your info is covered in ice crystals …  Yeah.  They switched to the front of 
the refrigerator …

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC
Principal, Cohousing Collaborative, LLC
Falls Church, VA

As long as you have two or fewer … your ducks are always in a row.  The Covert 

> On Feb 20, 2018, at 1:21 PM, Muriel Kranowski <murielk [at]> wrote:
> We've been collecting emergency-contact info for several years. AFAIK we
> didn't get anyone saying that this needed to be kept private; a call goes
> out once a year or so to refresh your contact info if applicable, and then
> the refreshed list is sent to everyone via our listserv. It's especially
> important for our single residents, but families supply this info too.
> The list includes some medical-alert information as well, such as allergies
> (especially to medicine), that first-responders and ER people should know.
> I don't know if we could really transmit that kind of information in a
> timely way - if your neighbor just collapsed and you're calling 911 and
> alerting the community and what-all in such a situation, would you think to
> pull up that document if you had it on your phone? But I don't know how
> else we could do it.
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