First responder training session on Saturday aims to teach how to better handle situations involving people with autism

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. – Saturday, two local organizations are putting on a free training session for first responders that will teach crews how to better handle emergency situations that involve members of the autism community.

The Guntersville Rescue Squad and the North Alabama Search Dog Association are sponsoring a free training session Saturday, March 19 for first responders. The goal is to teach methods to better handle situations that involve individuals in the autism spectrum. “So that the situation goes a little bit more smoothly and that it actually assists the officer and the individual in that process,” said CJ Jones. Jones is a member of both groups.

Called REACT, Recognition and Evaluation of Autism Contacts Training, it’s targeted to any first responder, from police officers to rescue squads. It’s also open to people in public settings who interact with individuals with autism.

The training will be held Saturday, March 19 from 1 to 5 p.m. at Lake City Assembly of God, located at 5025 Spring Creek Drive in Guntersville.

The session is a way to help responders better understand how a person with autism might respond to an emergency situation, and how officials can better handle that. The groups are doing the training as a way to give back to the community. “We feel it’s so important to get the word out there,” Jones said.

If you would like to attend, you are encouraged to RSVP by emailing your information to k9crimson@gmail.com. You can also come the day of the training.

Autism Identification Card

Autism Identification Card

RELATED: The State of Alabama now issues identification cards to people with autism if they request one. Autism advocates and police both say the cards are helpful to help ease possible tensions in a situation.  The card is not required, but is recommended.  Request one at autism-alabama.org.