Firefighters across North America are taking a brand new course that could help them save millions of lives. It’s called “Rescue Autism"and it teaches firefighters to identify someone with autism, and how to help them in an emergency.
So, why do firefighters need to take a special autism course? Massachusetts fire captain Bill Cannata created the program and he says that being in a fire is overwhelming for anyone, but it’s crippling for someone with autism. That’s because autistic people thrive off of order and routine, in fact, every minute of their day is often planned out, and the slightest change - even having lunch at 1:40 PM instead of 1:30, can throw them into a tailspin. And so if a fire breaks out, they have no idea what’s going on or how to react, which can cause them to do everything from hide in the burning house, to attack firefighters trying to help them.
And experts say it’s crucial for firefighters these days to know how to safely rescue and interact with someone who’s autistic, since more people than ever have the condition. In fact, 1 in 100 children have autism. If you’d like to find out more info about the autism safety course, check out the site Fire Rescue Autism.com.