Nationwide, one in 88 public
school students have been diagnosed with
some form of autism. In Howard County,
Md., that number is one in 73. That translates to 700 students in the county with an
autism spectrum disorder.
Past president and current board member of the Howard County Autism Society Beth Benevides Hill said the county has
higher-than-average numbers not because
of more children with autism being born
in the county but because people move to
the county because of the services offered to
those who need them, according to a news
report in the Baltimore Sun.
PHO TO COURTESY JEB TA TE/PIO/HOMELAND SECURI TY LIAISON
Capt. Tony Concha of Howard County’s
Department of Fire and Rescue Services
agreed, and now his department provides online autism awareness training for
We applaud Howard County Fire and
Rescue for taking note of a need in the community and doing its part to form this innovative partnership to meet the needs of this
“When developing our continuing
education program for Howard County,
we needed to consider the demographic
needs of our community. Howard County
exceeds the statewide percentage of autistic persons by more than twice the state
average,” Concha says. “Working with the
Autism Society of Howard County, we were
able to put together a training program that
enables our providers to recognize autistic
persons and apply specific techniques to
provide appropriate care as needed.”
BOOT FROM THE BAYOU
Ahmed Maloum Sidi Aleywa, a
33-year-old Mauritian national in the U.S.
on an expired tourist visa,was working at
Quicky’s convenience store in downtown
New Orleans when a 9-1-1 call came in for a
chest pain patient at the store. A New Orleans
EMS crew arrived, parked and left the emergency lights active. They went inside and
took quick action, transporting the patient to
the back of the ambulance and treating him
while parked in the lot.
This online training program will include
a pre-course knowledge check with critical thinking questions about autism facts
and emergency response challenges. After
firefighters and paramedics complete the
training, a post-course quiz will be given to
reinforce content comprehension.
Apparently, Aleywa took his duties of
“booting” cars parked in the lot without paying so seriously that he ignored the flashing
lights and crew occupying the emergency
vehicle and placed a boot on the ambulance.
This expands county-wide efforts to
train first responders in autism awareness.
Another joint program gives residents the
option to voluntarily flag their addresses
with dispatchers so first responders can
know prior to arrival that a resident may
be nonverbal, oversensitive to sirens,
unaware of danger, or prone to elope or
exhibit other noteworthy behaviors.
Unaware the boot had been placed on the
ambulance, the prehospital crew attempted
to start the vehicle to transport the patient
to a local hospital when they discovered
the front tire was locked. They then had to
call for backup and wait until another crew
arrived to transport the man.
We chide Aleywa, who was later fired,
for his lack of situational awareness. Doing
one’s professional duties is indeed impor-
tant. However, in this case, it went against
common sense and respect for an ambu-
lance crew and patient.
KEEPING THE BEAT GOING
The Memphis Fire Department
(MFD) purchased 17 LUCAS chest compression systems, manufactured by Physio-Control, Inc., thanks to a $240,000 grant
from the Assisi Foundation of Memphis.
“We believe this technology will allow us
to provide even better care for our patients,”
said Fire Director Alvin Benson in a news
release. “Providing manual CPR can be difficult, inconsistent, and tiring. The LUCAS
system will give the patient high-quality,
PHO TO COUR TES Y PHYSIO-CON TROL, INC.
continuous and consistent compressions
The electrically powered devices are
hoped to increase Memphis’ 16% survival
rate from out-of-hospital cardiac arrests.
The Assisi Foundation of Memphis
serves nonprofit organizations that work
to improve Memphis and the mid-South.
It addresses pressing challenges while also
searching for root causes with the goal of
creating community-wide transformation.
We give a thumbs up to the partnership
between MFD and the Assisi foundation in
awarding this grant. Hopefully, placing more
devices in ambulances can help increase CPR
survival rates in the area.
JEMS (Journal of Emergency Medical Services), ISSN 0197-2510, is published monthly by Elsevier Public Safety, 525 B Street, Suite 1800, San Diego, CA 92101-4495; 800/266-5367 (fed. ID #13-1958712).
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