CCEMS To Use Carter Kits To Aid Autistic Individuals In Emergencies

By Quinn O’Hara

Clay County EMS has recently received a Carter Kit and will soon get three more.

The Carter Kits organization began in Michigan and sought to find a way for first responders to calm distressed children with sensory needs in emergency situations. Since their inception in 2019, Carter Kits have been sent to first responders in 29 other states, and now Kansas.

Carter Kits are bags full of tools first responders can use to help them effectively communicate with and aid autistic individuals in an emergency or otherwise stressful situation. The tools include weighted blankets, earmuffs to block out sound, sunglasses to block out light, fidget toys, and more.

CCEMS’ Director Alec Trembath says once they get the rest of their Carter Kits their first responders will be trained on how to utilize the kits and the kits will then be placed in each CCEMS ambulance.

The class’s trainer will be Scott Fischer, who is an Officer with the Clay Center Police Department, Director of EMS with Clifton EMS, and PRN for Clay County EMS.

He says the kits and associated training will change the way first responders interact with autistic patients in an emergency:

Fischer says the training teaches techniques that facilitate a better understanding between patient and first responder:

Fischer says patient assessments are an incredibly important part of EMS response and tell a first responder what needs to be done. He says while autism can create a communication barrier when administering aid, the Carter Kits and associated training greatly reduce frustration, diffuse situations, and increase the level of care individuals with sensory issues receive.

Fischer says he hopes to be able to spearhead an effort by first responders in Kansas to spread the Carter Kits around the state:

Once CCEMS is sufficiently trained in how to use Carter Kits, Fischer says he will also train the Clay County Police Department and possibly the Sheriff’s Office on the new response methods. Fischer says he is excited for the program to spread across the state and believes all first responders and individuals with sensory issues will benefit from the program.

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