BUCKHANNON – In public service announcements, it’s often said that “the more you know,” the better.
But when it comes to the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, the more they know, the better prepared first responders are to render an efficient delivery of emergency services to Upshur County residents.
The Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is encouraging all households to complete an Emergency Preparedness Registry, a fillable PDF form that may be found here on Upshur County’s website under the Upshur DHSEM section.
“You can download it online, and you can type into it online and print it out and mail it in, attach it to an email or fax it to us,” Steve Wykoff, Upshur DHSEM director, said this week.
The Preparedness Registry is an initiative that’s designed to help people who require specialized assistance or who have special medical needs in the case of an emergency or disaster.
“It’s voluntary information that’s submitted to DHSEM that is then given to the 911 Center, and as needed, to the response agencies because depending on the situation, our response could be different,” Wykoff explained.
A completed Preparedness Registry notifies first responders about a variety of relevant information related to particular individuals and households, he said.
“If we know that there’s a language barrier involved when we’re responding, we can have an interpreter on standby or connect with somebody en route,” Wykoff explained. “If the person is autistic, we can take that information, and then we know what calms that person down or what to talk to that person about, or how to approach that person.”
“For example, say someone has fallen six feet. Our response to the general person who has fallen six feet and landed on their head is, it’s an emergency situation, so we’re going as fast as we can, lights and sirens down there to get there quickly,” he said. “If it’s an autistic person who falls on their head from six feet, our response has to be different.”
“Once you get close to that place, those lights and sirens can become overwhelming for the autistic person because of sensory overload and can cause more of an issue. Without knowing that ahead of time, we’re going to have the lights and sirens going right up to the time we pull in the driveway.”
Examples of other information relevant to emergency responses include but aren’t limited to:
- If there are pets at the home and whether or not they’re friendly
- Where the nearest fire department is located
- If the residence is located within a flood zone or flood-prone area
- Whether any residents in the home have mobility issues or are bed-confined
- Whether any residents suffer from hearing impairments and/or utilize Sign Language
- If occupants are dialysis-dependent
- Whether any residents rely on any emotional support animals or service animals
“This is all information that is going to allow our emergency services community to a provide better and more efficient response for individuals in our community,” Wykoff said.
Preparedness Registry forms may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, faxed to 304-472-6539, or mailed to Preparedness Registry, Upshur County DHSEM, 181 Pallottine Drive, Buckhannon, WV 26201.
Anyone with questions may contact Upshur DHSEM by phone at 304-472-4983.