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First responder safety workshop
The Olathe Police Department, Olathe Fire Department, and the City’s Persons with Disabilities Advisory Board have partnered to present the Second Annual First Responders Safety workshop, a free community event on Sunday, June 23, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Olathe Fire Administration Building (1225 S. Hamilton Cir.). Any child or adult who may have difficulty communicating while lost or in an emergency situation due to a developmental or cognitive disability and their caregiver(s) are encouraged to attend. This includes individuals with disabilities such as Alzheimer's, Autism, Dementia, Down syndrome, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), etc. People with physical disabilities, hearing impairment, and vision impairment are also invited to attend.
Emergencies and disasters can strike without warning, forcing people to quickly leave or be confined in their home unexpectedly. Fires, floods, and other emergency situations can cause distress for anyone, but people with certain disabilities may experience added stress, especially when facing sirens and lights during the chaos and uncertainty of an emergency event. The commotion that often comes when first responders arrive to the scene can be challenging and distracting for people with autism, sensory disorders, and intellectual disabilities. People with physical disabilities may also require specialized assistance during an emergency.
In order to provide an effective response, first responders must create strong relationships with the special needs community. Additionally, it is critically important that every family, especial those with members who have cognitive or physical disabilities, has an emergency safety plan.
Attendees at this workshop will have a chance to interact with first responders in a non-threatening situation and will learn tools and resources to plan for future emergencies. Officers and firefighters will demonstrate how common emergency equipment is used, explain rescue protocol, and discuss the importance of emergency planning. Participants can also enroll in the Johnson County Sherriff Department’s “Take Me Home” program, a shared law enforcement database that helps officers appropriately assist community members with special needs during emergencies. A complimentary barbecue lunch will be served.Please RSVP and direct questions to Vanessa Vaughn West, community relations manager, at VLVaughnWest@OlatheKS.org. Anyone who requires an auxiliary aid or service for effective communication, or a modification to participate in the workshop, should contact Olathe’s ADA Coordinator at 913-971-8827 at least two business days prior to the event.