Project Keep Me Safe Cards unveiling ceremony
Suffield, CT, February 20, 2018: The Foundation for Exceptional Children of Suffield (FECS), Suffield by the River and the Suffield Police Department are hosting an unveiling ceremony for the initiation of Project Keep Me Safe Cards (PKMSC). The ceremony will take place on February 20, 2018 from 9:00am-10:30am at the SPD’s conference room on Mountain Road. Town and state dignitaries, such as all Suffield first responders, the First Selectman, Tami Zawistowski will be present to celebrate the initiation of the PKMSC in Suffield, CT.
PKMSC are identification cards which will be linked directly to the Suffield Police Department computer aided dispatch system in order to better assist first responders when interacting with the special needs and dementia/Alzheimer’s populations of Suffield, CT during emergency situations. The PKMSC can be used for identification purposes in the event that a child or adult goes missing and also can be used to identify family members with special needs or medical conditions when emergency situations arise at home. PKMSC can be tailored to the family’s preference and can include a name, date of birth, address, photograph, medical and clinical conditions, important subjective information, hospital choice and emergency contact information.
Background: According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), The Autism prevalence in the prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births (CDC, 2014). More than 3.5 billion Americans live with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and cost US citizens $236-262 billion annually (Buescher et al, 2014). Elopement and wondering is a significant concern within the ASD community. Roughly half (48%) of children with ASD attempt to elope from a safe environment, a rate nearly four times higher than their unaffected siblings and children with ASD are eight times more likely to elope between the ages of 7 and 10 than their typically-developing sibling. More than one third of ASD children who wander/elope are never or rarely able to communicate their name, address, or phone number. In 2009, 2010, and 2011, accidental drowning accounted for 91% total U.S. deaths reported in children with an ASD ages 14 and younger subsequent to wandering/elopement. More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease. Every 66 seconds someone in the United States develops the disease and since 2000, deaths from heart disease have decreased by 14% while Alzheimer’s disease have increased by 89%. 35% of caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s or another type dementia report that their health has gotten worse due to care responsibilities, compared to 19% of caregivers for older people without dementia (National Alzheimer’s Association 2017). According to the Alzheimer’s Association, six in ten people with dementia will wander. A person with Alzheimer’s many not remember his or her name or address and can become disoriented, even in familiar places and if the person is not found within 24 hours, up to 50% of individuals will suffer serious injury or death.