MAURY COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — To help first responders more adeptly handle emergency calls at residences where people with autism reside, Maury County 911 is asking citizens to fill out a form for an autism database designed to enhance emergency response.
On July 21st, Maury County 911 will become one of the first 911 centers in the country using a life-saving database that will help first responders interact with people with autism.
To develop the system, Maury County 911 is asking citizens to fill out a form.
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Officials say the information will be stored in a county-wide database so when first responders arrive at that residence they already know vitally important information about the person with autism at that house.
“It will get the info necessary to our first responders on the street, to help avert any kind of tragedy,” said Mark Gandee, Maury County 911 Director. “Three months ago we were doing a search for an autistic individual at the south end of the county who was hiding from the people searching, so any info we can get ahead of the time, helps us change our tactics.”
Fabian Oden is a lifelong first responder who grew up in Maury County. The 31-year-old has been a Vanderbilt flight paramedic, a Mt. Pleasant cop, and a volunteer firefighter. And now he’s in his first year of medical school studying E.R. medicine.
Oden says he developed the database to decrease negative encounters between first responders and someone who has autism, whose behaviors could be misinterpreted leading to negative consequences.
“There’s a huge knowledge gap between first responders and autistic individuals to where an autistic individual can be presumed to have atypical behaviors that can present as intoxicated or under stimulants or intoxicants. This will help gauge our response to it.”
Oden says knowing a person with autism is in a home before arriving will help first responders make correct choices in how to handle the scene and the treatment.
At this time, it’s unclear how many families will be affected by the autism awareness program, but officials say if it helps just one family, it will be worth it