Tuesday, November 16, 2010

SC firefighters get training to better aid people with disabilities

From WBTV:

ROCK HILL, SC -– A group of volunteers with varying disabilities worked with City of Rock Hill Firefighters to assist them in understanding how to help them in the event of a medical or fire emergency.

On Monday, each volunteer participated in a simulated incident and spoke with firefighters on how they can best be assisted.

The disabilities addressed in these training sessions range from cerebral palsy, visual impairment, autism, intellectual impairment and others.

Firefighters have trained for this before but never on real disabled subjects.

One participant named Mike who has cerebral palsy simulated falling out of his wheel chair. Mike can't speak clearly, but firefighters had to make sure they could translate what Mike was saying before treating his injury.

Kerry Hagan with the York County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs says this training helps first responders understand those with a disability. Hagan says in the past the intellectually impaired have been mistaken for other impairments.

"They don't know if the person is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or disabled and it's so important to teach them to learn that little extra step of compassion; to go a little further to find out exactly what's going on with them," said Hagan.