BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) – Bay County Fire Rescue officials are starting a new program to better assist patients on the spectrum.

BCFR wanted to equip some of their trucks with autism kits for children and adults. These kits will help patients deal with the trauma brought on by emergencies.

First responders will be reaching for these kits quite often as they arrive at the scene of an emergency.

“I noticed it was very difficult to communicate with autistic children and patients,” BCFR Trey Baur said. “So I started researching ways that we could figure it out and make it a little easier on us.”

Baur was online researching when he came across the idea to make autism kits.

“We have earmuffs because some autistic patients don’t like loud noises with the sirens and everything this will help them out,” He said. “Then we have stuffed animals which we can also use for pediatrics patients and on our EMS side, we have autism bears, and in the fire trucks, we have little dalmatian puppies with fire helmets.”

There are also communication boards that will allow patients to point out what they are feeling. The boards allow patients to point out how much pain they have and allow them to spell out words. 

“We can also use those cards for non-English speaking patients,” Baur said. 

He said these kits are helpful at their Youngstown department.

“We had a special needs patient a couple of weeks ago that we gave a stuffed animal to after a car wreck to help him out,” Baur said.

Along with these kits, BCFR is receiving training through the FSU-PC Early Childhood Autism Program. ECAP director Dr. Nikki Dickens is teaching the different signs of the autism spectrum.

“Just because a person has that label, it really doesn’t define who they are. So they know how to expect anything really,” Dickens said.

BCFR is in the process of purchasing more items for these kits. They hope to fill all of their emergency vehicles across the county with these kits soon.