Lions Club Message in a bottle program could help save people’s lives

By Eoin English
Irish Examiner Reporter

A new free scheme to help elderly and vulnerable people is being rolled out to thousands of homes across south county Cork.

And it is hoped that with the backing of the country’s Lions Club network, it will be expanded nationwide.

The Carrigaline and District Lions Club has introduced the “Message in a Bottle” emergency information scheme in its area.

Certain people in the catchment area have been identified for inclusion.

Lions Club members are visiting homes to ask the individuals to fill out a special form designed to help emergency service workers who may have to call.

It includes the person’s photograph, their health and medical history, a list of medication they’re on, an emergency or family contact, and their GP’s details.

It can also contain personal information such as whether the person has a pet which may need care if the person is facing an extended period in hospital.

The form is then placed in a special branded bottle which will be stored in their fridge.

Lions Club members will then place a special sticker inside the front door of the person’s home to signal that they are part of the scheme.

It is designed to give emergency service workers, especially paramedics, vital information about the person which could help them decide the course of treatment that may be needed.

The project, which began in Britain, has been backed by the National Ambulance Service here.

Carrigaline and District Lions Club member James O’Sullivan said several Lions clubs in Cork and nationwide have signed up to participate in the scheme.

“By telling whether you have special medication or allergies or not, is a potential lifesaver and provides peace of mind to users and their friends and families,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

It is being supported in Carrigaline by Jansen Pharmaceuticals, community gardaí, the HSE, local senior citizens centres, the St Vincent de Paul, Red Cross, and the Order of Malta.