PRINCETON, Ind. (WEHT)- First responders in Princeton have tools for nearly any situation, from fires to water rescues to Hazmat- but now they have a tool to help give everyone a voice.
The Princeton Police Department and Princeton Fire Territory are joining a growing list of agencies across Indiana carrying communication boards- a laminated card that can be folded small enough to fit in a car visor that can help first responders communicate with people who may be experiencing communication issues. Kristie Lofland from the Autism Society of Indiana says the boards are customized to help police, EMS, and firefighters ask questions during an emergency.
The Autism Society provides the boards at no charge to first responders and the boards come with a brief video to help them understand and recognize the Autism spectrum- a broad range of conditions that 1 in 54 children are diagnosed with.
Princeton Police Chief Derek McGraw says the department already has Autism awareness training but they were excited to find another way to help their officers serve the community. McGraw says the boards could come in handy to help bridge a language barrier.
Lofland says the boards are available within agencies across the state including the Indiana State Police and the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, but they’re hoping to provide them to any agency that wants them, no matter the size. Lofland explains that Autism is found in all communities and first responders should have every tool available to them to make every situation go as smoothly as possible.
For Chief McGraw, it’s just another way to help his department provide a “better product” they can offer the community. Lofland says any agency that wants a communication board should contact the Autism Society of Indiana.