for First Responders for - South Dakota

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for First Responders for - South Dakota

Transcript Of for First Responders for - South Dakota

for First Responders for
Seniors People With Service Animals People With Mobility Impairments People Who Are Mentally Ill People Who Are Blind Or Visually Impaired People Who Are Deaf Or Hard Of Hearing People With Cognitive Disabilities

Mary Keener Beresford New Mexico Governor’s Commission on Disability (505) 476-0412 [email protected]
Anthony Cahill Center for Development and Disability University of New Mexico (505) 272-2990 [email protected]
Anne Pascarelli Barraza Office of Health Emergency Management New Mexico Department of Health (505) 476-7894 [email protected]
Roberta S. Carlin American Association on Health & Disability 110 N.Washington Street, Ste. 328-B Rockville, MD 20850 (301) 545-6140 [email protected]

Dear First Responder:
Whether you are responding to an emergency caused by natural forces such as a fire, flood or tornado, or one caused by a terrorist attack, you may encounter persons with some type of disability who will require assistance. Some disabilities, such as those involving physical impairments may be obvious. Other disabilities, such as mental illness, are more difficult to detect. In many cases, you can’t tell just by looking at the person whether they have a disability.
Many first responders have requested quick, easyto-use procedures for assisting persons with disabilities. These tip sheets provide information about many types of disabilities you can use during emergencies as well as during routine encounters.They are not meant to be comprehensive, but contain specific information that you can read quickly either before or while you are actually responding to an incident.
If you would like more information about how to best assist persons with disabilities or have suggestions for future editions of this guide, please contact us.

Always ask the person how you can best assist them.
 Some elderly persons may respond more slowly to a crisis and may not fully understand the extent of the emergency. Repeat questions and answers if necessary. Be patient! Taking time to listen carefully or to explain again may take less time than dealing with a confused person who may be less willing to cooperate.
 Reassure the person that they will receive medical assistance without fear of being placed in a nursing home.
 Older people may fear being removed from their homes – be sympathetic and understanding and explain that this is temporary.
 Before moving an elderly person, assess their ability to see and hear; adapt rescue techniques for sensory impairments.
 Persons with a hearing loss may appear disoriented and confused when all that is really “wrong” is that they can’t hear you. Determine if the person has a hearing aid. If they do, is it available and working? If it isn’t, can you get a new battery to make it work?

 If the person has a vision loss, identify yourself and explain why you are there. Let the person hold your arm and then guide them to safety.
 If possible, gather all medications before evacuating. Ask the person what medications they are taking and where their medications are stored. Most people keep all their medications in one location in their homes.
 If the person has dementia, turn off emergency lights and sirens if possible. Identify yourself and explain why you are there. Speak slowly, using short words in a calming voice. Ask yes or no questions: repeat them if necessary. Maintain eye contact.

People with Service Animals
Traditionally, the term “service animal” referred to seeing-eye dogs. However, today there are many other types of service animals.
 Remember – a service animal is not a pet.
 Do not touch or give the animal food or treats without the permission of the owner.
 When a dog is wearing its harness, it is on duty. In the event you are asked to take the dog while assisting the individual, hold the leash and not the harness.
 Plan to evacuate the animal with the owner. Do not separate them!
 Service animals are not registered and there is no proof that the animal is a service animal. If the person tells you it is a service animal, treat it as such. However, if the animal is out of control or presents a threat to the individual or others, remove it from the site.

 A person is not required to give you proof of a disability that requires a service animal.You must accept that he/she has a disability. If you have doubts, wait until you arrive at your destination and address the issue with the supervisors in charge.
 The animal need not be specially trained as a service animal. People with psychiatric and emotional disabilities may have a companion animal.These are just as important to them as a service animal is to a person with a physical disability – please be understanding and treat the animal as a service animal.
 A service animal must be in a harness or on a leash, but need not be muzzled.

People with Mobility Impairments
 Always ask the person how you can help before attempting any assistance. Every person and every disability is unique – even though it may be important to evacuate the location where the person is, respect their independence to the extent possible. Don’t make assumptions about the person’s abilities.
 Ask if they have limitations or problems that may affect their safety.
 Some people may need assistance getting out of bed or out of a chair, but CAN then proceed without assistance. Ask!
 Here are some other questions you may find helpful.
 “Are you able to stand or walk without the help of a mobility device like a cane, walker or a wheelchair?”
 “You might have to [stand] [walk] for quite awhile on your own.Will this be ok? Please be sure and tell someone if you think you need assistance.”
 “Do you have full use of your arms?”
 When carrying the person, avoid putting pressure on his or her arms, legs or chest.This may result in spasms, pain, and may even interfere with their ability to breathe.

 Avoid the “fireman’s carry.” Use the one or two person carry techniques.
Crutches, Canes or Other Mobility Devices  A person using a mobility device may be able to negotiate
stairs independently. One hand is used to grasp the handrail while the other hand is used for the crutch or cane. Do not interfere with the person’s movement unless asked to do so, or the nature of the emergency is such that absolute speed is the primary concern. If this is the case, tell the person what you’ll need to do and why.
 Ask if you can help by offering to carry the extra crutch.
 If the stairs are crowded, act as a buffer and run interference for the person.
Evacuating Wheelchair Users  If the conversation will take more than a few minutes, sit
down to speak at eye level.
 Wheelchair users are trained in special techniques to transfer from one chair to another. Depending on their upper body strength, they may be able to do much of the work themselves.
 Ask before you assume you need to help, or what that help should be.

Carrying Techniques for Non-Motorized Wheelchairs  The In-chair carry is the most desirable technique
if possible.
 One-person assist  Grasp the pushing grips, if available.
 Stand one step above and behind the wheelchair.
 Tilt the wheelchair backward until a balance (fulcrum) is achieved.
 Keep your center of gravity low.
 Descend frontward.
 Let the back wheels gradually lower to the next step.
 Two-person assist  Positioning of second rescuer:
 Stand in front of the wheelchair.
 Face the wheelchair.
 Stand one, two, or three steps down (depending on the height of the other rescuer).
 Grasp the frame of the wheelchair.
 Push into the wheelchair.
 Descend the stairs backward.
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