Dubuque first responders get special needs awareness packets - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque first responders get special needs awareness packets

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The Dubuque Fire Department now has Autism awareness packets in each fire truck, to be used in the case of a crisis.

The packets are to help them respond better to emergencies involving those with special needs.

A group from the Hills & Dales facility toured the main fire station and delivered them. The trip was also to teach children with intellectual disabilities to not be afraid of first responders.

"Individuals with Autism tend to have more challenging time understanding verbal communication coming at them, and directions," said Laura Keehner, director of Autism services.

The packets include Autism information, pictures to help with communication, also fidgets. "Anybody would probably feel calmer with a fidget in their hand," Keehner added.

Captain Dennis Bradley said it'll be useful for the department.  

"Before this we didn't have anything. We really haven't had any training as far as how to react with people with special needs, so this will definitely help us hopefully keep the situation calm, or calmer."

Thursday, the group will be be visiting the Dubuque Police Department to drop off their packets. It's part of Hills & Dales activities for Autism Awareness Month.

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