Two Lions clubs are working together to relaunch a simple idea which can help save the lives of elderly and vulnerable people.
They are encouraging people to keep their basic personal and medical details in a bottle stored in a common location – the fridge.
The Message in a Bottle campaign is being run by Ruislip and Northwood Lions clubs.
It is intended to save the emergency services valuable time in helping to identify vulnerable people during an emergency call-out, especially if they have special medication or allergies.
They will know a person has a bottle due to two labels – one on the inside of the front door and the other on the fridge itself.
Ruislip Lions volunteer Clare Crowe, from Brook Drive, Ruislip, is scouting suitable places to stock the free bottles.
She said: “Message in a Bottle has been going for about 10 years now. One of the problems is that, within the emergency services, there are organisational changes and new people come in who don’t know that the service exists.
“We are relaunching now so that people are aware this is available and that it is completely free. It’s such a simple idea, to keep your medical details in a common place, and it also has contact details for friends and family in case of an emergency.
“We also want to remind people who already have bottles to make sure that all their information is up to date.”
While the scheme is focused on vulnerable people, it can be used by anyone who takes regular medication, no matter what their age, and the cost of the service is paid for by the Lions.
Mrs Crowe knows paramedics are thankful for the scheme. “We go to the carers’ fair at the Pavilions in Uxbridge, where one of the ambulance drivers came up to me and said he recently had to visit one person and they were trying to find out what medication to give and he knew exactly where to go,” she said.
“But his colleague didn’t know what it was about at all, so we have to get it back into people’s minds.”
The official re-launch of the scheme takes place on Thursday, April 11, in the mayor’s parlour at the Civic Centre in Uxbridge. The event will be attended by representatives from Lions clubs, the emergency services, Hillingdon Council and various care organisations.
The Lions hope to stock the bottles in GPs surgeries, pharmacies and Age UK shops. For more information about where to pick up a bottle, or to order a bottle, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 08458 337 853 for Northwood Lions or 08449 632 447 for the Ruislip club.