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Keeping Seniors Prepared

If the Oct. 25 drill had been a real bioterrorism event, residents would have had to be transported to the high school in their neighborhood, which would be serving as a clinic, and provide information about their medical history including any medication and current dosage.

The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department's File for Life can help seniors make sure there is a complete medical history available in the case of an emergency.

The File for Life is a laminated card on which a person can record medical history, including current medications and doses, illnesses, allegories and doctor contact information. The card has a magnet on the back so it can be kept on the refrigerator.

"When we respond to a medical emergency, the patient can't always answer questions," said Lt. Raul Castillo of the county Fire and Rescue Department. "We encourage everyone, especially the elderly, to have a File for Life. It helps the patient in providing their medical information so we can concentrate on treatment."

Being magnetized, the card is portable and could be taken by seniors to another location, such as an emergency clinic, if needed.

A File for Life card can be obtained at any county fire station or by calling the Public Information and Life Safety Education Section of the department at 703-246-3801.

In addition, seniors are encouraged to become familiar with the local school bus routes in their neighborhood and the location of the nearest high school. In the case of a mass emergency, residents will be asked to go to a designated high-school bus stop to be picked up and transported to the county emergency clinics located in the high schools for treatment.