A Healthy Resolution: Have a ‘File of Life’ Card Handy for Medical Emergencies

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Here’s a New Year’s resolution that is easy to keep: stop by Stamford EMS to pick up a File of Life card.  Your File of Life card lists your latest medical information — including allergies, medications, contact persons and more — all in one safe place.

If ever there is a medical emergency, a completed card hanging on your refrigerator could save your life. 

Stamford SEMS File of Life card 912-24-16“Everyone should have a File of Life,” said Bill Ackley, EMS Captain, Special Operations and Preparedness Coordinator of Stamford EMS.

“Paramedics often arrive on a scene with little to no information about the person in need of help.  This card is the most efficient and effective way to tell medical providers what to look for in an emergency situation, and how to notify loved ones.  Updating the card in January provides current information.”


— An announcement from Stamford Emergency Medical Services (SEMS), which now provides Darien with in-town paramedics


While completed cards are especially important for seniors, many children are looked after by caregivers who may not be familiar with the child’s medical history.

SEMS urges parents to complete File of Life cards for each of their children, which can be left on their refrigerator or with their caregiver.

EMS and other first responders know to look for the card, and in cases when a patient is unable to communicate, it can save precious minutes.

A completed card quickly provides an accurate medical history, as well as a list of medications, existing conditions and allergies — vital information needed by paramedics and EMTs to provide lifesaving care during a medical emergency.

All File of Life cards should be updated each year at a minimum.

To get your File of Life card, stop by Stamford EMS headquarters, the first Monday of each month [That’s Jan. 2, Feb. 6, March 6 and April 3 for early 2017].  SEMS headquarters is located at 684 Long Ridge Road in Stamford.

Additionally, each SEMS ambulance carries a supply of File of Life cards, and in nonemergency moments, crew members are able to provide cards when asked.

About Stamford Emergency Medical Services, Inc. (SEMS)

Since it accepted responsibility for Stamford’s ambulance services in 1992, Stamford Emergency Medical Services has remained clearly focused in its mission to provide high quality, compassionate emergency care and education to the communities it serves.

Connecticut’s only accredited EMS agency, SEMS services over 14,000 calls each year as a private, nonprofit organization.  To learn more, or to make a donation, visit stamfordems.org or call (203) 968-1118.


Editor’s note: Many EMS organizations make “File of Life” cards available to the public, and some cards can be found online. You can print out this more extensive one and attach it to your refrigerator. Just make sure it’s clearly labeled “File of Life” for anyone trying to find it fast during an emergency.

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