On Saturday, October 17, 2015, Autism Speaks Pittsburgh and MSA-The Safety Company hosted a Safety Event for the greater Pittsburgh community.
The event began with a First Responder Training at the Brentwood Civic Center, which was open to local law enforcement, firefighters, and EMS. Designed to increase first responders’ knowledge of autism and equip participants with best practices to ensure effective emergency response, the training session provided strategies for promoting safety while meeting the unique needs of someone with autism. Many of the participants were representatives from Brentwood Volunteer Fire Company, which was an integral partner in facilitating the day’s events. At the close of the presentation, the group engaged in a discussion about the newly accessed information and how each might adapt their approach.
Following the training, the first responders joined Autism Speaks and MSA in hosting a community Safety Fair for individuals with autism and their families. This was held at the Brentwood Volunteer Fire Company, and meant to connect participants with important safety resources and facilitate engagement with their local law enforcement and firefighters within their community.
At the station, all were greeted by Sparky the Fire Dog and given a tour of the facility. The children and young adults in attendance collected badges and a fire helmet, while getting a chance to see emergency equipment and vehicles up close. The Brentwood Volunteer Fire Company’s fire ladder was deployed, and many of the participants seized the opportunity to climb up into the fire engine. Some event got fully suited up in the fire gear! Officers with Brentwood Police Department were on site to talk about their work and give participants a chance to check out their patrol cars. Through these interactions, families and first responders were not only helping one another to learn about safety and autism, but also were building a sense of community.
Each of the families who attended the Safety Fair received an Autism Speaks Safety Kit, which included tips for enhancing safety at home, at school, and within the community. Additionally, they had a chance to connect with local and regional organizations who promote safety through a range of programs. Those represented in the Resource Fair included:
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Project ALERT and Team Adam
- Project Lifesaver of Allegheny County
- South Hills YMCA Aquatics Program
Despite the chilly weather, the Safety Event was a great event and we are grateful for all who came out to learn about autism, access safety resources, and engage with local families and first responders. A huge thank you to MSA-The Safety Company and Brentwood Volunteer Fire Company for their support and partnership throughout the planning and implementation of this valuable community event.
Email us at email@example.com to learn more about Autism Speaks training opportunities for first responders and other organizations to promote the safety of all people with autism.
Click here for our safety and wandering prevention resources and information for first responders and families.