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Special Needs Registry Provides Vital Information to First Responders

First RespondersIn the event of an emergency, many individuals with special needs face special challenges. For instance, in the event of a fire, flood or other emergency, many people with disabilities may not be able to evacuate a home or building quickly, especially if they are located on an upper floor. Also, in a medical emergency, a special needs patient may not be able to communicate their disabilities to first responders. In fact, one of the issues noted by first responders has been an inability to identify individuals with special medical needs or limited mobility. This inability has delayed the ability of emergency personnel to provide help and care to the individuals that need it most.

But help is on the way. Many local public safety agencies throughout the country have established a special needs registry in their communities. The only problem now is that they are not well known. The registry enables those with special needs to register their physical and/or medical disabilities with their local public safety agency. First responders will use the registry information to better assess the patient before arriving on the scene in an emergency. It also allows them to have the proper medical equipment if transportation is necessary.

The special needs registry is also used by local emergency personnel to identify and provide assistance to registered individuals that need help evacuating during an extreme weather event. Individuals with wheelchair accessible vehicles who can evacuate safely will know when and where they need to go while others will get the assistance they need.

However, in order for the system to function properly in an emergency those with special needs need to register. Unfortunately, many people with disabilities are not aware that a special needs registry exists in their community. It’s not something that’s on their mind until help is needed. That’s why first responders and public safety agencies across the country are encouraging them to enter vital information into their local registry.

Residents with special needs in Carroll County can contact the Office of Public Safety Support in Westminster, Maryland to register.

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