Fighting Fire with Education

You know how we’re all encouraged to practice fire drills with our kids?  Find a safe way to get out of the house.  Find a safe place to meet. How many of us have had to deal with a fire in real life?  Not many, I’ll bet.  And thank heavens, for that.  But if you have, as soon as you’ve counted heads and dialled 911, you’re astounded by the noise, lights and confusion as the fire trucks screech to a halt outside your house.
Now picture that happening to a family whose son or daughter has autism.  Chances are loud noises, flashing lights and frantic scenes are very difficult for that person to handle.  And chances are also the first responders won’t know how to deal with the difficult behaviour a fire scene will provoke.  Small wonder.  But it turns out that there is an American fire fighter who has turned his attention to just this problem.  He has a son on the autism spectrum.  And he has made it his business to educate other fire fighters.   He says that “oftentimes they try to flee the scene or they’ll aggress towards a rescuer to keep them away from them, so these are the tips that we’re giving these people of how to handle…”the situations. 
What a great idea!  Sharing common sense and hard-won experience to make the job of all first responders easer.  Fredericton, New Brunswick, has asked for his help.  I hope it won’t be the only Canadian city to do so.

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