Tuscaloosa firefighters undergo autism training for first respon - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Tuscaloosa firefighters undergo autism training for first responders

Photo: Terry Brewer Photo: Terry Brewer

Experts say people with autism are much more likely to be involved in some sort of emergency situation, than people without autism. That's one of the reasons Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue is undergoing three days of training this week, called Autism Awareness for the First Responder.

In addition to the likelihood that a person with autism will be involved in an emergency, the characteristics of an emergency are also difficult for a person with autism. This includes things like loud noises and other unfamiliar stimuli.

"Everything's either heightened, ten times greater than what it normally is, or they have no emotion at all, which is a challenge on either end for the first responders," Christopher Martin, a Birmingham firefighter conducting the training, said.

The training educates firefighters on how to recognize someone with autism, how to calm them down, how to communicate with them and what the safest place for that person would be. The training also gives firefighters some general knowledge about autism spectrum disorder and the characteristics associated with this.

Martin has been conducting the training since 2009 at fire departments around the Birmingham area and in other parts of the state.

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