Free ID bracelets offered to seniors

Baltimore program will provide information useful in emergencies


Mayor Martin O'Malley and police Commissioner Leonard D. Hamm announced yesterday a new program that makes bracelets marked with important contact information available to Baltimore's more than 100,000 seniors.

The silver-colored bracelets are inscribed with identification numbers that link the wearer with a Police Department database that stores home addresses, telephone numbers, emergency contacts, vehicle information and information about basic medical needs. City officials say the information will be helpful in emergencies.

Police are asking all residents 65 and older - or any adult who might need one - to register for the free program at fire and police stations and senior centers.

"This will help us respond to seniors not only in the event of an emergency but any time, like if an ambulance is called, so that we have good identification and can take care of our seniors," O'Malley said at a news conference at the Sandtown-Winchester Senior Center.

Hamm said the idea for the program came from the response to Hurricane Katrina. "One of the things we found out after that storm is that [New Orleans] had no idea where their senior citizens [were] located," the commissioner said.

City officials have 55,000 bracelets, which the were purchased for $1 each, and he said more can be made if the demand is higher. About 112,000 senior citizens live in Baltimore.

Charlotte Perry, 82, was one of the nearly 75 seniors at the Sandtown center who registered yesterday. "It's very exciting, very interesting and most of all helpful to the senior citizens," she said, modeling her new jewelry. "And it's not heavy."

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