Life-saver in a bottle for Barking and Dagenham

A simple and cheap idea that could save lives has been endorsed by the �borough’s emergency services.

Since the Message in a �Bottle scheme was trialled in Parsloes ward earlier this year, 3,500 bottles have been distributed to vulnerable people’s homes.

Representatives from the borough’s police, fire brigade and the council met in the Mayor’s Parlour at Barking Town Hall last Wednesday to formally launch the borough-wide roll-out of the “life-saving” bottles.

They contain vital information about a person’s health and medication.

The small plastic bottles are provided for free by the Lions Charity and contain a form which is filled in by the patient and kept in the fridge door.

In case of an accident or emergency, paramedics, fire fighters, police or relatives will know where to look.

Knowing the patient’s �condition can save crucial treatment time.

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The police say it will also give them the �opportunity to connect with vulnerable �people to get across crime prevention messages.

Sgt Rob Bell of Chadwell Heath Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) said: “Sometimes we need to build up a bit of trust, particularly with older �people who are nervous about calling us.

“A lot of elderly people have been targeted by artifice �burglars. The bottles have enabled us to give people confidence to aks for workers form utility companies’ ID reference.”

Paul Chakrauarti, president of the charity, and Martin Morgan, district governor, stressed the importance of getting the message through to emergency service staff and patients. Mr Morgan said: “It’s a wonderful scheme but if �people don’t know about it, it’s just a plastic bottle in a fridge.”

He said the lives of two people had already been saved thanks to the bottles in the north of England.

He added: “The bottles are only 20p each. 20p can save a life. That, to me, is a fantastic deal.”

The mayor, Cllr Milton McKenzie, said: “This is such a valuable and simple tool.

“In Barking and Dagenham I will do my best to spread the message.”

For a free bottle contact the Lions on (0845) 833 7517 or ring your local SNT.