Title:
Emergency information storage receptacle
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An emergency information storage receptacle primarily made of hard vinyl plastic that is able to withstand impacts associated with typical vehicle collisions. The receptacle has a top portion and a bottom portion where the top portion can move between a top, open position and a bottom, closed position. When closed, the top portion partially sets within the bottom portion to form a protective closed shape. When open, the top portion provides access to an information card secured within the interior of the top portion. The information card is further protected by a protective sheath and a view window. The receptacle is of a suitable dimension for installation along the dash or driver compartment of almost any vehicle.



Inventors:
Morrison, Chris (Leandel, TX, US)
Application Number:
11/075128
Publication Date:
09/14/2006
Filing Date:
03/08/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B65D6/28
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
BRADEN, SHAWN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
NAMAN, HOWELL, SMITH & LEE (WACO, TX, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A receptacle apparatus comprising a top portion configured for engagement with a bottom portion, said top portion further comprising a securing means for securing an information card and a view window within said top portion; said bottom portion being configured for engagement with said top portion; an adhesive means configured to adhere to said bottom portion, or some proximity thereof, said adhesive means further being configured to adhere to a vehicle.

2. The receptacle of claim 1 wherein said top portion and said bottom portion are reversibly engaged with one another so that said top portion may be actuated between an open and closed position as a series of tabs extending from said top portion slide within corresponding apertures located along said bottom portion.

3. The receptacle of claim 1 wherein said securing means comprises a pair of raised edges running along the interior of said top portion where said edges are spaced to allow said view window to securbaly fit there between and where said information card may be adjacently secured to an edge of said securing means.

4. The receptacle of claim 1 wherein said receptacle has a width of between three and one half inches and four and one half inches.

5. The receptacle of claim 1 wherein said receptacle has a length of between three and one half inches and four and one half inches.

6. The receptacle of claim 1 wherein said receptacle has a height of between three quarters of an inch and one and one quarter of an inch.

7. The receptacle apparatus of claim 1 wherein said receptacle is comprised of plastic.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention generally relates to a device for assisting those arriving at the scene of a motor-vehicle accident in obtaining critical information about a victim or her relatives. More specifically, the present invention relates to a device that protects the critical information in a compartment easily accessed by emergency crews or others assisting after a car wreck; the information assists in alerting those treating medical conditions of the victims as well as emergency contacts of the victims.

2. Background Information

Motor-vehicle accidents are a common occurrence, and, all types of people use motor vehicles for transportation. As such, all motorists are at risk for being a victim in a motor-vehicle accident.

When emergency rescue personnel arrive at the scene of an accident, victims may be unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to respond to those persons. As such, those accident victims often need immediate medical attention. They may be young children who are unable to fully understand what is occurring and provide necessary information to those responding to the emergency. Some accident victims are confused and unresponsive to those around them. Because of these circumstances, victims are often not able to communicate with emergency response crews.

However, it is crucial to the health of the vehicle occupants that those responding to an accident have some basic information about the occupants. More specifically, those treating accident victims want to know of any current medical conditions and allergies of the occupant, which may render certain types of medical treatment more harmful than good. Victims may have medical conditions, such as allergies to certain medications. Because some accident victims are unable to provide that information to emergency response persons, medical treatment is all too often completed at the scene with the risk that such treatment could aggravate pre-existing medical conditions. When emergency rescue personnel are unaware of the medical conditions of the particular victims, the emergency treatment they give may cause an adverse reaction in the victim.

Some people with more extreme special conditions may prepare for an emergency by carrying an information card on their persons. However, people are bound to lose even these most important documents, and there are very few people who consistently remember to carry around this information. Further, these items may be lost or ruined in the accident. Also, there is no common place to look for this type of information. Even if it is located on the person, it's often not found until arrival at the hospital, after some medical treatment has already been completed. The bottom line is that accidents are unexpected and thus difficult to prepare for.

Another piece of information that emergency rescue personnel lack is who to contact. Sometimes there is no documentation as to the identity of the victim. Thus, hospital workers must go through the extensive process of identifying the victim and then figuring out who to contact. Even after the victim is identified it can still be a long process to determine family members or close friends that need to be contacted about the victim's condition. This means that those closest to the victim often wait hours before even receiving notice that an accident has occurred. In the worst cases, this means close friends and relatives have lost the chance to spend those last few moments with the victim. Even in the best cases, hours is too long to wait to find out that a loved-one has been in a motor-vehicle accident.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The general purpose of the present invention, which will be described subsequently in greater detail, is to provide a device that assists emergency response crews and others in learning critical information regarding those involved in motor vehicle accidents or people close to those victims. Applicant's invention has many advantages of such devices known in the art and many novel features that result in an device which is not anticipated, rendered obvious, suggested, or even implied by any of the known devices, either alone or in any combination thereof.

In satisfaction of the above and other related objectives, the present invention provides a device for securing and preserving information pertaining to motor vehicle accident victims. The present invention, by way of a novel combination of components, yields a result that is not possible with any other means of providing that necessary information. The device secures information relating to accident victims, in open view within the vehicle, so that so that emergency response personnel can do their job better.

Applicant's invention may be installed, without use of peripheral tools, within a vehicle in such a manner that it will remain affixed thereto. In its most preferred form, the present device is made of material designed to withstand impacts associated with typical vehicle collisions. Also, the device is of a size and dimension making it suitable for permanent installation along the dash or compartment of almost any vehicle. The device contains a transparent protective window that makes the contained information easily accessible to emergency response persons and others assisting in a motor vehicle accident. These features alone, and in combination with one another, provide easy access to critical information in a format that is simply not available with known devices.

Because some accident victims are unable to communicate important information to the rescue personnel, this device may independently serve as the sole communication means of information. In further terms of practical and immediate benefit, the device remains in the vehicle so that it is not misplaced, and as much may serve as a primary point of reference for emergency personnel. Those responding to the emergency will be able to better do their job as they will know the exact location, within the vehicle, to search for critical information; namely the identity, special medical conditions, and emergency contacts of the victim. By virtue of the novel configuration of the device, information remains protected when subject to extreme temperatures and impacts associate with typical vehicle collisions.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, Applicant's invention will serve to protect accident victims themselves. After all, those owning and using the present invention will be afforded greater protection from potentially adverse medical treatment. And, those closest to the victim will be better served as they are more likely be better informed in the hours following an accident. In so much, the present device serves to aid emergency personnel, protect accident victims, and aid those closest to the accident victims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Applicant's invention may be further understood from a description of the accompanying drawings, wherein unless otherwise specified, like referenced numerals are intended to depict like components in the various views.

FIG. 1 is a side and top view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 is perspective and expanded view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 3 is an expanded and side view of the preferred embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

Referring to FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, the device of the present invention is generally designated by the reference numeral 10. Device 10, in the preferred embodiment, is primarily comprised of some lightweight, yet suitably rigid material—such as plastic or fiberglass, or some composite thereof. Specifically, primary components of device 10 are preferably comprised of hard vinyl plastic, being about one eighth of an inch in thickness. However, incorporation of these materials is particularly important to the benefit provided by device 10 as they are made to withstand a minimum impact of 35 milers per hour. Durability afforded to device 10 by virtue of its material is extremely important in maintaining the integrity of device 10 in the event of a vehicle collision—this of course is when device 10 is most beneficial to its intended users. Moreover, these materials can withstand approximate temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit—so, device 10 is particularly useful in that it will not degrade when left in a hot car for hours on end. Moreover, as mentioned, device 10 is thought to be most beneficial in facilitating the communication of vital information by and between emergency rescue personnel and medical personnel. As will be discussed, the specific dimensions of envisioned embodiments, the configuration of device components, and the relationship between those components impart novel attributes to Applicant's invention.

As best seen in FIG. 1, FIG. 2, and FIG. 3, device 10 is comprised of top portion 12. Top portion 12 is characterized by a top surface 14 surrounded by side walls 16 that extend therefrom, in substantially orthogonal fashion from the plane of top surface 14. The combination of top surface 14 and side walls 16 form a general receptacle shape. Top portion 12 is further configured to mate with bottom portion 20 so that top portion 12 and bottom portion 20, when in a mated configuration, form a closed, receptacle-like shape.

Again referring primarily to FIG. 1, FIG. 2, and FIG. 3, device 10 has bottom portion 20. Bottom portion 20 is characterized by a bottom surface 22 surrounded by bottom side walls 24 that extend therefrom, in substantially orthogonal fashion from the plane of bottom surface 22. As will be further discussed, top portion 12 preferably has a shape and dimension in relation to bottom portion 20 so that top portion 12 rests within bottom portion in a closed position.

Device 10 may remain in a closed position whereby its inner components are secured within the closed shape formed by the combination of top portion 12 and bottom portion 20. However, when needed, top portion 12 may be actuated between a closed and open position so that the inner components of device 10 can be accessed by its user. Top portion 12 may rotate between its closed and open position, in hinge-like fashion, as one or more tabs 26 located along the back side of top portion 12, fit within one or more corresponding apertures 28, located along the back side of bottom portion 20. Top portion 12 moves between its open and closed position as tabs 26 slide within apertures 28. In the event top portion 12 needs to be removed completely, one need only pull top portion 12 so that tabs 26 become completely removed from apertures 28. Certainly, other means for engagement between top portion 12 and bottom portion 20 will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For instance, useful embodiments are envisioned where top portion 12 and bottom portion 20 are secured to one another by a hinge. Also, an embodiment is envisioned where top portion 12 and bottom portion 20 comprise a single, modular piece, whereby top portion 12 is actuated along a scored line demarcating relative movement between each piece.

As mentioned, device 10 is envisioned as being most beneficial when installed within a vehicle and secured thereto. As such, device 10 is envisioned as having a range of preferable dimensions to better suit efficient installation along the most logical interior vehicle locations. In the preferred embodiment, top portion 12 has a width of three and three quarters of an inch, a depth of three and one eighth of an inch, and stands at a height of seven eighths of an inch. Bottom portion 20 has a width of four inches, a depth of three and three eighths of an inch, and a total height of three fourths of an inch. As best seen in FIG. 3, bottom portion 20 is at a maximum height along its back side and tapers to a height of seven sixteenths of an inch moving in the direction from back to front. As top portion 12 fits within bottom portion 20 in its closed position, these relative dimensions allow for secure engagement between the pieces, even accounting for the thickness of each piece. These dimensions may vary according to specific models, each configured for installation within a specific vehicle; however, the dimensions mentioned above are most desirable in so much as they are thought to accommodate almost any vehicle in which device 10 may be installed.

As best seen in FIG. 1 and FIG. 2, top portion 12 contains information card 32 and view window 34. Information card 32 and view window 34 are arranged within top portion 12 so that each is viewed by a user of device 10 as top portion 12 is actuated to a top, or open position. When this occurs, a user of device 10 can view information card 32, which remains protected by view window 34. Both information card 32 and view window 34 are held in place by securing means 38. As seen in FIG. 2, card 32 is afforded even greater protection when placed in protective sheath 36, which may be secured by securing means 38. Securing means 38, in the preferred embodiment is a pair of raised edges along the interior of the shape formed by the combination of walls 16. These raised edges, in combination with one another, serve to sandwich view window 34 and provide an attachment surface for information card 32. Other securing means 38 will be apparent to those skilled in the art. For instance, other embodiments are envisioned where securing means 38 is a pair of grooves configured to slideably receive card 32 and window 34.

As discussed earlier, information card 32 is envisioned as providing critical information to emergency medical teams that arrive on scene after a vehicle collision. By quick reference to card 32, emergency personnel can become informed as to necessary victim information including contact information of relatives, medical history of the victim, medication allergies the victim may have, or even victim age and weight. One does not have to look hard to see that preserving this information in a manner that is easily accessible to emergency personnel will help those personnel in quickly making important decisions regarding victim treatment. Also, having this information secured within the vehicle will eliminate a situation where the victim is incapacitated, and relatives or loved one are left for hours on end without receiving word there has been an accident. Secure preservation of this vital information has not, until now, been achieved in such a compact, efficient, and reliable manner.

Referring now to FIG. 2 and FIG. 3, in the preferred embodiment device 10 further has adhesive means 30. Adhesive means 30 is preferably a planar member having adhesive material on each side of its planar face and is of a dimension so that adhesive means 30 aligns with and substantially matches the dimensions of bottom portion 14. As such, adhesive means 30 is particularly useful in that it may adhere to bottom portion 20 on a first adhesive side and adhere to the dash to a vehicle on a second adhesive side. Use of adhesive means 30 allows device 10 to be secured within a vehicle without use of any peripheral tools, such as a screwdriver, drill, etc. While adhesive means 30 is thought to best serve a user of device 10 when it is in the form of single, planar pad, other useful adhesive means 30 will certainly be apparent to those skilled in the art. For example, useful embodiments are envisioned where adhesive means 30 is a series of small members having adhesive material on each face. These small members may be spaced about bottom portion 20 so as to provide for evenly distributed adhesion of device 10 to the interior of a vehicle. Of course, while not preferred, other embodiments are envisioned where adhesive means 30 comprises one or more tabs extending along the plane of bottom portion 14, each tab having an aperture configured for receiving a securing mechanism such as a pin or screw. Such an embodiment is relatively burdensome to install, but, is thought to provide for longer lasting security between device 10 and the vehicle to which it is installed.

Although the invention has been described with reference to specific embodiments, this description is not meant to be construed in a limited sense. Various modifications of the disclosed embodiments, as well as alternative embodiments of the inventions will become apparent to persons skilled in the art upon the reference to the description of the invention. It is, therefore, contemplated that the appended claims will cover such modifications that fall within the scope of the invention.