Midland 911 Starting Database of Autistic People, Effort to Help First Responders
By Jen Kastner NewsWest 9
MIDLAND - The Midland Fire Department is teaming up with local 911 dispatchers and the Midland Association for Intellectually Handicapped Citizens (MARC) to help better care for people with autism spectrum disorder.
They've created a system where autistic patients can get registered with dispatchers, so that if emergencies occur, first responders will be aware and sensitive to those patients' special needs.
All agencies involved believe that this system is particularly important to implement right now, seeing that in the United States, 1 in 88 kids is currently affected by autism.
According to MARC's Jean Jones, the projected statistics are even more startling.
"The newest [reports] indicated that 1 in 50 children will be born with autism or will develop autistic behaviors," Jones said.
MARC will give clients a registry form to complete, which will then be handed off to 911 dispatchers and will be placed into the 911 database. If a 911 call comes in from a registered client, special information will be sent electronically to first responders.
Additionally, MARC will hand out autism identification stickers that can be placed on windows of homes and of cars, in an effort to help first responders be more aware of the needs of their patients.
Midland Fire Department will also be implementing more classroom instruction on autism, including lessons of symptoms, recognition and communication.
To get a registry form, contact the Midland Fire Department at (432) 685-7340 or contact MARC at (432) 498-8590.