PARENT SAFETY PLAN
In reponse to police calls for service involving missing residents who have autism/intellectual and developmental disabilities, Alzheimer's or dementia, the Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) recommends having a Parent Safety Plan for children and adults with special needs in place. That plan might include the following:
Install an Alarm -- An alarm is a great resource for those individuals who have a tendency to wander/elope from a safe environment. Many times, caregivers are not aware that the loved one has left the home. If a professionally installed alarm is not possible, magnetic door alarms are a good alternative. They are inexpensive and readily available. In the event of an elopement incident, it is critical that first responders are contacted to assist in the search. PLEASE DO NOT WAIT!
Reach Out to Neighbors for Support -- If families are comfortable, the Addison Police encourages families to speak with their neighbors about their situation. Neighbors can be a wonderful resource and "look out" should a loved one wander from their home. To view a "Neighbor Letter" template recommended by the CIT, click here.
Create a 911 script -- In an emergency situation, details are difficult to remember. The CIT provides an Autism/Intellectual Disability 911 Elopement Script to use in the event of an emergency.
Identification Procedures -- Identification of a loved one with special needs is critical. Identification can be in many forms. The Addison Police Department has partnered with the MedicAlert LEAP Program and the Wallet Card Project. These programs are free and can be a useful resource for identification procedures. It is also a good idea to label your house or car with special needs indicators. The Addison Police Department does have some window clings that are available to families upon request.
Register Loved Ones with Your Local First Responders -- The Addison Police Department Premise Alert Program allows families to provide information that describes what special circumstances may be required when police or fire personnel respond to an individual's residence. This information is kept secure and is only accessible by first responders.
Create a Safety Plan -- Creating a plan in an emergency situation can be beneficial for those unexpected events. Social stories and visual are a useful tool in creating that safety plan. What is the purpose of a social story:
- Helps a person to respond to certain social situations;
- Describes social situations and prepares a person for situations that may be challenging, like appearing in court, being detained or being arrested;
- Promotes self-calming, self-promoting and self-management skills;
- Shows information through methods such as pictures and words.
Customized safety plans can be created for unique family needs. Please contact Sergeant Stefan Bjes at SBjes@addison-il.org to arrange a safety plan.