New “Autism Alert” helping Regina Fire better help those with ASD

Regina Fire and Protective Services (RFPS) launched a new initiative aimed at notifying first responders of residents with autism during an emergency.

The Autism Alert Program was initially launched in July after strong community request.

Fire Chief Layne Jackson says it has allowed fire crews the chance to learn how to safely help an Autistic person during an emergency.

“It just gives crews a heads up as they’re in response that a person with this disorder lives there, said Jackson. “And we’ve given some training to all the crews on what are some of the triggers, what are some of the proper processes they can use to help accommodate that situation when they’re in emergency response.”

Autistic people can sometimes get scared and hide during a fire or become overstimulated, so Jackson says it’s important to be able to help them through any situation.

Jackson says the alert helps fire crews do everything they can to not make someone more scared than they already are.

“The biggest thing is we don’t want to needlessly scare someone like that to the point where they hide,” said Jackson. “If we can limit that to what we do and our standard procedures, just because we’re aware that someone’s there, then we may not have that issue, whether that’s someone hiding or being scared.

While the program is in its infancy, Jackson says it’s exciting to have an inclusive, possibly lifesaving, program like this.

“I think it’s a great program, we’re excited about it,” said Jackson. “Anything we can do to ensure we’re accommodating everyone in the community, and meeting the needs of our residents, anytime we can do that, or make adjustments, or start a program that does that, we’re very excited about it.”

Anyone interested in registering in the program for a loved one, can email [email protected]. The program is free of charge.

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