Dublin Villager

Washington Township Fire Department

Program will help provide residents specialized care

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Washington Township Emergency Medical Services officials are hoping to give residents more specialized care with a new database.

Residents within Washington Township that have special needs have been able to identify themselves to the fire department for specialized care for several years, but an updated Special Needs Program is currently taking information.

"It's strictly voluntary on the resident's side and once they express interest, we gather information," said Eric Johnson, Washington Township EMS manager.

"We have information accessible to crews responding and with that information on the resident we can be better prepared en route to the emergency."

For the program, special needs are defined as anyone who requires special medical assistance, life-sustaining equipment such as a ventilator or oxygen or enhanced care and assistance with daily living activities; anyone who needs assistance with mobility because of illness or injury and is unable to evacuate their residence for an emergency; people with cognitive or mental health impairments; and anyone with hearing, speech impairment or limited English proficiency.

The medical information is linked to a resident's address and about 15 people have signed up for the updated program that is modeled after one in Delaware County.

"We've had the ability for any special needs residents to notify the department for several years, but this year revisited the program and ended up shoring up areas where we can provide better service," Johnson said.

"This year we're focusing more detail on the services we provide."

The program hasn't been seen in action yet in Washington Township, but Johnson said it will be useful when it is.

"One of the biggest benefits is having that information when we're responding to a run when someone we know, due to medical information, may become overstimulated from our lights and radios," Johnson said.

"We can approach walking into the residence by turning our radios down and having one or two paramedics go in versus five or seven people walking in the room and making the scene more problematic.

"It allows us to provide the best service we can for residents," he said. If there needs to be an evacuation in the area, we can look up information and see if anyone needs to be evacuated and gather those residents."

The program is free to sign up for and Washington Township will contact everyone in the program annually to update information.

To join Washington Township's Special Needs Program, call the EMS office at 614-652-3936.

Registration for the program requires three forms be filled out: HIPAA release form, special needs registration form and the Dublin Police special premise CAS entry request form.

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