EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — A partnership between one Evansville woman and Evansville Professional Fire Fighters Local 357 is knocking down communication barriers during emergency situations.
“It’s one more tool in the toolbox to help the community and to deal with those barriers we run into every day,” says Larry Zuber, the president of Evansville Professional Fire Fighters Local 357.
It’s called the “Camse Kit.” Kelsey Schapker created the kits to help first responders interact with individuals on the autism spectrum or with special needs during an emergency. ‘Camse’ is short for Cam’s Sensory Equipment, which is named after her son Camden, who is on the autism spectrum. Shortly after receiving the diagnosis, Schapker says they were almost involved in an automobile accident.
“In that moment, they are not properly able to communicate their wants and needs, or even basic information, such as their age, mom and dad’s age, or phone number. That is why the kits were developed,” Schapker says.
Each kit has a weighted stuffed animals that smells like lavender and cards to help communicate with firefighters, along with other sensory tools.
“It’s kind of a barrier that never really came across our radar screen before,” Zuber says.
Local 357 was able to place a kit in all 17 firetrucks, 3 investigator vehicles, and both district chief command vehicles in Evansville. Each kit costs about $40 and will be replenished when needed.
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