Does your Department have a member that is Autistic, how is the best way to get a member who is Autistic to be legal to respond to fire calls??? Elmore Fire & Rescue had a member join who is Autistic & he's not allowed to respond for liability reasons, I understand SAFETY FIRST!!! Who should the officer's talk to so we can make it ""LEGAL"" for this member to respond??

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From Wikipedia:

The autism spectrum, also called autism spectrum disorders (ASD) or autism spectrum conditions (ASC), with the word autistic sometimes replacing autism, is a spectrum of psychological conditions characterized by widespread abnormalities of social interactions and communication, as well as severely restricted interests and highly repetitive behavior.[1]

If you understand "SAFETY FIREST!!!" why would you try and make it "legal" for this individual to respond? Beyond the altruistic motive you would potentially be putting the individual as well as other responders in jeopardy.

Is this a Fire Department or a social club?
We have a guy with Williams Syndrone in our fire department, he's treated as a "full" member so to say but more less he falls into the "honorary" member status. We don't take him to any major call if he's at the station but he also knows to stay in the rig once we get there.

Of course Williams and Autism is 2 TOTALLY different beasts
OK, I am confused.

Why would a department admit a member that has a specific disability that precludes responding to and working on calls? Because someone will reply with it, the ADA only required that reasonable accommodations be made in order for the member to work. The idea of taking someone on fire truck rides and having them sit in the rig, seems to me to incur MORE liability not less than simply telling the member that the fire service may not be an option for them.

The only way to make something legal that is currently not legal is to change the relevant laws. I am cont sure what laws you want to change, perhaps mandatory training, so that a candidate not be required to take practical or written tests? Such efforts do nothing to make the individual a firefighter and in the long run only hurt the baseline professionalism that many of us are trying hard to maintain.

I understand that the role of a volunteer fire department is largely community based, and that there is a very important social aspect to many of our departments, but we must remember that we are here to run a fire department first and a social club second. There is no requirement that everyone who wanders in the door be admitted as a member.
No brainer. They have no right on the fire ground sorry. You said it your self "SAFETY FIRST"
I'm in agreement with Jack and Ralph. Liability not only for his safety and well being, but also those around him as well. Depending on the degree of autism, he might be able assist in a supportive role, such as rehab. Maybe handing out cold towels and water doesn't sound like much, but if you are the one who needs refreshing, then you are really thankful someone is there to hand them to you.

I think I'll go lay down now. To agree with Jack and Ralph on the same topic at the same time...
enjoy your nap, oldman... ;)
In my Firefighter 1 class was a student from another department in the next town over who just seemed slow, both to fellow students and to the instructors. We even had one instructor who tried to work one on one with him, to no avail. He even showed up for SCBA night with a broken SCBA and an empty bottle, so our instructors loane him one of ours. Eventually he was dropped from the class.

Fast forward a couple of years later, I was taking Firefighter 2 in another department in that town. The guy was now a member of this station. He proudly told us he was responsible for sweeping up the floors when they guys took the trucks out. I admit it, I still didn't get it. What was this guy doing in a fire station?

Much later I met a guy from this members first department and got some background on him. He was thrown out of the first department for a theft, but there were more than a few members who though he just didn't know it was wrong to take what he took. He was reportedly from a wealthy family that donated much to the local departments and he wanted to be a firefighter, so he was made one.

Now, I have no idea what this guys specific diagnosis was, and I haven't seen him in years, so I don't know how applicable this is to the topic of autism, but in general it seems to at least be a similar situation.
Yeah, I have to agree with everyone else on this. There is no room for error on a fire scene and bringing an autistic member to the call, even if they just ride the rig, is a huge liability and just plain wrong. It is unfair to that member as well as other members to be subjected to those safety violations.

We have had mentally handicapped individuals apply to our dept. We always tell them the same thing... "Thank you for applying but we are unable to utilize someone with your disabilities as an active duty firefighter. We invite you to join our Auxilary membership."

Yeah, it always kinda sucks when you have to look a handicapped person in the eye and tell them that, however; I would rather have to go through that, rather then seeing that individual become injured, or injure myself or another ff while on scene.
I'm no expert, but I don't see how this person could ever function in a high stress job like this. Most adults who have are autistic can only function in low stress jobs, usually part time or volunteers at a low production business. I know it is difficult to do but this person probably will never be released to ride or become trained. Have you contacted his primary care doc and checked with them.
I have two autistic cousins of varying degrees. They are very intelligent when it comes to the surface of knowledge and memorization, however in their cases when it comes to the "big picture" they have trouble tying it all together.

I love them both very much and would want nothing but the best for them, however I just do not ever want them to be emergency first responders. They would shut down under the stress of an emergency scene, or they would continue to do the same task until someone physically stopped them.

As mentioned before though, I think they would be great for fundraising and auxiliary, as it would give them a sense of pride and purpose to be a part of the department. Plus they're really great at tasks!

Lastly, before I yield the soapbox, I think it would be absurd to bend the rules to let a person who has a significant mental handicap respond. No, I'm not claiming the "slippery slope" argument, but I just think it would risk the health of that member and all of those who will rely on him on the fire ground.

Take care stay safe!
It depends on the what level of the spectrum they are on. My son has Aspegers Syndrome (AS) and goes to a school set up for AS kids and there are kids there that I believe could turn out with proper training. But some like my son like consistancy and lack empathy and would have trouble responding to the varity of calls that we respond too.

I believe that just because they have the title of an autistic disorder that this should not automatically stop them from being active and productive members, but this would need to be reviewed on a case by case basis.
I have found out this guy that's Autistic should not be voted on a member, he is not stable for a fire scene & I have talked to him about this.... When I started to tell him he is not safe to be on ""ANY"" emergency scene he flipped out & started telling me that the Department does not want him to respond because he has this disorder, I tried really hard to calm him down but it only made it worse!!! This guy started to tell me that he was going to kill me & his worker who happens to be an ex girlfriend of mine & now she's a really good friend, he swung at me so I had choice & had to defend myself..... I did not want to do it but I knocked him out & got his hands behind his back & managed to make it so he could not move them again, I had to use cable ties to do this & I also did it around his ankles so he could not try to assault us by trying to slam his body into ours.. When this guy came to he was now even more pissed because I had him set up so he could not move & he asked me if I could at least sit him up so he was not laying on the dirty bay floor, as I started to move him up he told me again that he was going to kill me after he killed his worker & made me watch... Then this pecker head thought it was funny to spit in my face, unfortunately their was a little blood from a small cut on his lip from when i hit him to know him out... That made me really pissed so I called dispatch over the Law Enforcement radio in our engine & had an officer come to take him away, Vermont State Police arrived with in minutes after I radioed for them to remove this guy from the station... The officer looked at me & asked where the blood came from, I started to answer when this guy he was taking cut me off & told the officer that ""he knocked me out & it cut my lip then I spit at him""!! This really screwed this guy over since he again spit at me & then the officer set him down on the floor again & put a pit mask on him, now this guy was pissed & telling the officer that he was going to lose his job & after that happend he was going to get hurt & maybe die.... Okay dude that is the ""WRONG"" thing to say to someone from Law Enforcement, I am sure now he will be behind bars for a few days for talking about posiblely taking the life of this officer from the VSP!!!

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