Surfside Beach mother meets with first responders about autism awareness

Becky Large met with firefighters from across the county in hopes of bringing new systems to departments to better let them know if they are responding to a home where a disabled person lives. (Summer Dashe/WPDE)

An Horry County mother spoke to a group of firefighters from across Horry County Thursday.

She has an autistic son and hoped to find a better way for first responders to know when they are responding to a home where a disabled person lives.

Where Becky Large comes from first responders already know her son's needs. She lives in Surfside Beach where families can submit paperwork once a year that signifies a person with disabilities lives there.

Surfside Beach is known to be an autism friendly city.

“Lights, sounds, sirens, you know, somebody coming crashing into the door, very upsetting to people on the autism spectrum," Large explained to the group of firefighters.

At the meeting she urged firefighters from across Horry County to consider a system to let them know if they are responding to the home of a disabled person.

"So that when the forms and processes are put in place that they can submit that information,” she explained. “So that they, or their family members, are super-duper covered and safe."

Myrtle Beach police have a similar system to the paperwork. People in that city can apply for a bracelet.

“We get that notification of where they'll be staying in and how long they'll be staying here and certainly they are given the information that if their loved one is lost contact the police department,” Lt. Joey Crosby explained. “So that we can immediately dispatch the equipment to that location and begin searching for the individual."

Many departments across the area already work with different organizations to properly train and educate their first responders.

"Knowing autism and how people react to the lights and sirens I know how important it is that response, the responders and how they respond is really important," Large said.

She hoped no matter where her family went those tasked with keeping them safe would know the way they do that may have to look and sound a little different.

Large said meeting with fire chiefs one-on-one was time consuming, so she was grateful to have gotten the chance to speak to so many at that meeting.

One fire chief brought up the idea of putting together an electronic database of those individuals with disabilities.

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