New special needs database aims to provide better information to Fishers first responders

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FISHERS, Ind. -- A new "Special Needs Data System" was launched Tuesday by the Fishers Department of Fire and Emergency Services, in conjunction with the City of Fishers Disability Awareness Roundtable.

The database aims to provide first responders with valuable information regarding the presence of special needs inside a residence they may be responding to.

This can include things like a dependency on oxygen, mobility issues requiring a wheelchair, ventilator use, cognitive or communication barriers, etc.

“We’ll be able to pull up on our computer, see what people have special needs, and the type of special needs. And we can get resources to them a lot quicker then we might otherwise be able to,” Capt. John Mehling said.

Participation in the database is voluntary. When this information is provided, responders will have secure, advanced notice while going to the location of an emergency.

This information can be critical in situations such as firefighters responding on a residence fire, so they can tell rescuers there could be someone in the home that needs additional help in escaping from the situation, or to be aware of hazards such as the presence of oxygen canisters.

In the event of a wide-spread incident like a hazardous materials spill or a destructive weather event which causes wide spread damage and/or power loss, responders can identify an area through the database with specific locations that may need priority assistance or special instructions on how to shelter in place.

"Every time we’re provided with information on that scale we’re going to be able to address that a lot quicker and a lot efficiently than we would otherwise,” Mehling said.

Residents can participate in the service for free by clicking here. The form can also be filled out at the Fishers Fire Headquarters or by calling 317-595-3200 and ask for a community paramedics.

Residents can opt out of the program or update their information at any time.