One of the cool things about social media is that you see what other fire departments are doing. In this case, the Clearview (Ontario, Canada) Fire & Emergency Department has come up with a “comfort kit” for when their personnel are assisting people with autism. Upon reading their post, I reached out to Clearview Fire Chief Roree Payment for information and he graciously passed on the following about their kits.
NOTE: I also encourage all Firefighters to please read the information in this link, specific to FIREFIGHTERS:
CLEARVIEW FIRE COMFORT KIT INFO:
Autistic individuals often have sensory issues that can cause them to experience higher levels of stress and trauma during emergency situations. Lights, sirens, extraction tools, a lack of control over the situation can all contribute to increased anxiety and trauma. First responders dealing with people with autism or behavioral issues can use the Comfort Kit to help reduce the anxiety and trauma experienced by the individual.
With consultation from an early intervention specialist from Simcoe County, the contents of the kit were chosen as they are items typically used to assist autistic individuals, thus increasing the sense of comfort and familiarity with the materials by the patient. The hard goods are also readily available and easily replaced. A pink tool box was chosen as it is easily identifiable and will allow for additions to the kit as the pilot project progresses. The kits cost approximately $95 each.
For auditory sensory-sensitive individuals
Tinted Safety Glasses
For visually sensory-sensitive individuals
For individuals who are comforted or calmed by having an external item to focus on
Notebook and Pen
For non verbal communicators
Individuals who have (or are) receiving therapy may already posses these cards, or be familiar with them. The cards are often given to individuals who have autism related anxiety to allow them to use a familiar set of steps to help them relax during an anxiety episode. The cards were obtained from the Early Intervention Specialist we consulted with during the process.
Hard to think of a reason why any fire – EMS department wouldn’t put these together for use in their own response areas.
Thanks to the Clearview crew for passing it on.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FOR FIREFIGHTERS:
Autism 101 For Firefighters:
Firefighters vs Autism:
Take Care. Be Careful. Pass It On.