In an Emergency, Responders Need to Know

Information can keep those with an autistic spectrum disorder safe

When I meet new people with Peter, I almost always let them know that he has an autistic spectrum disorder. I do it so they will consider taking the extra moment to see the real Peter rather than his “symptoms.” Often when people know why Peter is not giving eye contact, or is hesitant about talking, they give him a chance to get acclimated.

That gives Peter time to meet someone new and test out his social skills and often lets someone new in on Peter’s humor and kindness. The other day, though, I realized I had forgotten to tell some very important people that Peter has an autistic spectrum disorder, our neighborhood’s first responders.

My sister and aunt both saw a segment on the Today show. The first responder talked about how important it is to let first responders, such as police, fire, and emergency workers, know that a child with a spectrum disorder lives in your home. How had I missed that one?

Many people say they are surprised at their reactions during an emergency. Some who think they will panic, become calm, cool and collected. Others that are always in control are shocked that in an emergency they are not.

A child like Peter has even more challenges during an emergency. First responders need to know they should deal with him quietly and cautiously. Peter may be separated from the people that know him best. He may be encountering new people who want to help him, but do not understand why he is running the opposite way or covering his ears.

I will be contacting my first responders next week to be sure they know about Peter. A little fact like that could be key to keeping him safe during an emergency. First responders will know to take that extra moment and really help him.

Jackie Moynihan March 05, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Delete Jackie Moynihan 10:31 am on Monday, March 5, 2012 You can get a decal online for your car that lets first responders know that there is a person on board with ASD. I took it a step further and put any information they should know in a bright envelope inside of my car.
Patrice E. Athanasidy March 06, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Thanks for the great information.
Patrice E. Athanasidy March 07, 2012 at 11:12 AM
I received the email below and received permission to share it as a comment: Wonderfull article. i am a retired Fire Captain and can give you one helpfull hint. Check on WHO dispatches your emergency personnel, they may have a CAD syatem(Computer Aided Dispatch) where information can be added and sent to emergency responders advising them of conditions of people at the location. This might be a good idea. Walter Ferguson


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