First Responder Training
LifeLine has developed a special needs (vs. diagnosis specific) First Responder Training Course to build the skills of metro Chattanooga’s front lines. It is something that has been on the heart of our board and staff for almost 10 years based on circumstances and scenarios encountered by families we serve as well as an increasing national awareness of first responder interactions with families affected by disability. It is our goal to equip police officers, fire fighters, and emergency medical services to respond with the greatest level of support and dignity when they encounter an opportunity to serve someone living with a disability.
Family Emergency Preparedness Training
LifeLine is also committed to helping families prepare for emergencies and potential interactions with emergency personnel. This preparation will include emergency preparedness for major community crisis or catastrophic events as well as preparation for personal emergencies that may occur at home, in the car, or in the community. What are the things that parents can do/have, etc. that would help them, the one they care for, and the first responder most in a crisis if emergency personnel were called to their home, car wreck, or medical emergency in the community? It is our goal to equip families with information and resource they need to be prepared.
Helping First Responders Recognize Special Needs
Besides training for families, LifeLine is offering stickers to identify your car or home. Metro Chattanooga first responders are being trained through SNAP’s first responder training to look for this symbol and then they will look for a Family Special Needs Emergency Contact Form in the glove box of the identified vehicle or close to the front door of an identified home. You may also take a copy of the completed form and drop off or mail it to the 911 center for them to enter into the 911 database so that anytime a call goes in to your address, the information about your loved one with special needs will available as they respond. You may contact Skyler at the contact information below to get a sticker or they will be available at LifeLine trainings and events. You can download a Family Special Needs Emergency Contact Form here:
HC911 Special Needs Contact form update 2016 and details about where to place your stickers and how to send a copy to 911 can be found here: SNAP Sticker Instructions.
Meet SNAP’s Coordinator – Skyler Phillips
Skyler is an EMT-Paramedic and Captain with the Chattanooga Fire Dept. He and his wife Melissa have been married for 14 years and they have two beautiful sons Noah and Elliott. Elliott is 2 years old and Noah is almost 6. When Noah was 3 years old he was diagnosed with autism.
Being a parent of a child with autism changed Skyler’s whole perspective on the community he served. He realized that there was more he needed to know as a first responder and that there was more that others would need to know as well. Feeling called to raise awareness and provide information, not just for autism, but all special needs, Skyler began with his son’s helicopter infatuation and Erlanger’s Life Force in April 2016. Not long after, Skyler and Lisa Mattheiss began creating a special needs training program for first responders in our area. Skyler and Lisa developed the curriculum for this training with input from several other first responders, current and former police officers, military and civilian emergency medical personnel and parents. Training will be offered in a 2 hour summary and a longer 4 hour training opportunity. More than 30 different diagnoses are represented within SNAP training curriculum.
After more than six months of planning, the Special Needs Awareness Program (SNAP), kicked off in January 2017 with the training of the Chattanooga Fire Department personnel. We have already been invited to teach this SNAP class at several other departments all over the metro area and hope to reach all first responders in our immediate area over the next two or three years. We are also planning parent training over the next several months to begin teaching parents or caregivers how best to prepare for an emergency involving first responders. God has opened many doors since we started this program and as He continues to open them, we will continue to walk through them.
To read more of the story behind Skyler’s passion, read his post about how a Service Dog for His Son With Autism Impacted His Career.
SNAP launched on January 9, 2017 with it’s first fire department training sessions. Community response has been incredible from both first responders and families and we are excited to see how God will use these training opportunities to build our community. Find the press release here: LifeLine – Press Release SNAP January 2017