Woman seeks to create autism database for emergencies

BUCKHANNON — Following up on an autism training session for emergency responders held last week, an area woman now wants to create a database of children and adults with autism that can be plugged into the E-911 emergency dispatch system.

Maranda Wamsley is hoping to reach out to parents and others who may have an autistic individual in their household.

At the autism training, Wamsley said she heard stories from EMS personnel and the E-911 center about some difficulties they encounter.

One example was an autistic and nonverbal child who had called 911 from a cell phone. He could not give his name, address or important information, which could have helped speed up the response.

Wamsley, who has a child with autism, said the idea came out of that conversation to offer a voluntary way for people to register information that there is an autistic individual in their house.

“If they want to do this, I think it’s a great idea,” she said. “My son can’t remember that information, so this would help us as well.”

The E-911 Center can also alert approaching emergency responders that the individual has sensory issues so to use the silent approach with no siren, to avoid touching the individual unless medically necessary and to not make loud noises.

Wamsley said it will also help in the event that a child with autism was to go missing because their information would already be on file at the comm center.

Doyle Cutright, director of the Upshur County E-911 Center, said the information would be helpful for his staff.

“Our job here at the center is to serve the public,” he said. “So, if there are special needs in the community and we can help facilitate a better emergency response, we would like to explore that.”

Cutright said any information would be voluntary but that his staff could have that plugged in their system to let responders know.

“For example, if someone lived at 1234 Anytown Road and had an alert, we could let emergency responders know that there is a child here that has autism, has extreme sensitivity to sensory stimulation and to please advise police, fire or ambulance to use the silence approach,” he said. “We are just letting know that capability currently exists in our county and we are willing to facilitate that.”

Anyone who is interested in signing up should contact Wamsley at 304-472-7225 or contact her through Facebook.

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