Autism Awareness and Emergency Response

Autism is classified as an “invisible disorder”.   As firefighters and paramedics we need the tools and recognition training to deliver the best possible care while managing the different needs of an individual with autism.

All of our Paramedics and Volunteer Firefighters have received awareness level training in order to recognize any characteristics of an Autistic Individual.  Please see the attached presentation that our first responders received in conjunction with group scenarios.

As first responders, one of our primary functions is patient care.  For individuals with autism, some of our regular protocols could escalate the behaviour of the individual and possibly negatively impact the outcome of the incident.  Some key factors are listed below:

  • lights and sirens could be a risk for autistic individuals
  • calmness is key
  • keeping an awareness of where the individual is as they are known to wander
  • physical actions may be similar to trauma, intoxication, confusion.  We need to recognize the signs and act accordingly.

How Emergency Services Will Respond: 

Each of our emergency vehicles will be equipped with a “calming kit” to introduce to an individual should the awareness of autism be perceived.  In addition to items, the attached picture cards are contained in the kit.  These can be reviewed with the autistic individual prior so they are comfortable with these should the need arise that they will be handed them during an emergency situation.

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