Thanks to suggestions and input from members of the community, the Los Angeles County Fire Department has further developed and enhanced its Sirens of Silence program by offering more communication tools and resources for first responders and families with loved ones who have autism and other special needs.
The Sirens of Silence program’s website now offers translated materials in English and 10 other languages (e.g., Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, etc.) as well as a contact information card for individuals with special needs to carry in case of an emergency, and a downloadable window/door sign for families to indicate someone with special needs lives in the home. Available online for use by first responders, families, caregivers, educators, and more, the Sirens of Silence program’s materials, tools, and resources are helpful in communicating with those who may have special needs, medical conditions (e.g., a stroke, dementia, etc.), trauma victims, non-English speakers, etc.
“As first responders, we are bridging the communication gap as much as possible by working with our residents on how to best approach their loved ones when there is an emergency and by creating as many resources as possible to show we care without having to say a word,” said Los Angeles County Interim Fire Chief Anthony C. Marrone.
LACoFD also hosted a Sirens of Silence community event on Nov. 20 with the Special Needs Network in Willowbrook. At the event, firefighters from Fire Station 41 met with several families who have loved ones with autism and other special needs to learn from one another on how to best approach and respond. Since the launch of the Sirens of Silence program in April 2021, the Department has partnered with Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood in providing sensory-sensitive items for park guests and has collaborated with the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation to promote fire safety and burn prevention in the special needs community. Additionally, a lifeguard tower on Mother’s Beach in Marina Del Rey, specially painted by artist and LACoFD Ocean Lifeguard Scott Snyder, will remain on display until the end of the year, continuing to spread the message of autism and special needs awareness, inclusion, and kindness.
To support firefighters, lifesaving equipment, and our transformational community education programs, and if you wish to donate and learn more, visit SupportLACountyFire.org.