, Salem, MA

February 28, 2013

Form helps police, fire prep for special response

The Salem News

---- — SALEM — Do you have a loved one who may need a specialized response in the case of a fire or other emergency?

The Salem Commission on Disabilities is encouraging disabled residents to fill out a form with local authorities that would indicate an address for a resident who is blind or deaf or who has impaired mobility or another condition that would require a special response.

Once filed, 911 dispatchers will see a special note on their screen when a call comes in from the address.

Information given on a disability indicator form is confidential and accessed only by 911 dispatchers.

Forms are available at the Salem Police Department, 95 Margin St., and at the disability coordinator’s office at City Hall, 120 Washington St.

Forms are also available at (type in “Disability Indicator Form” in the search box on the home page).

For more information, contact Andrew J. Lapointe, disability commission co-chairman, at 978-745-4289 or Capt. Mark Losolfo of the Salem Police Department at 978-744-0171.

“By filling out a disability indicator form, you are providing a valuable tool to emergency personnel giving them advance warning that a person with a certain disability resides at the address shown on the 911 screen,” Lapointe wrote in a press release. “Let’s say that you are a wheelchair user, and you call 911. Your house is on fire and you are in a panicked state.

“Well, by filling out the disability indicator form, emergency personnel will be aware that someone at that residence uses a wheelchair. The responding firefighters will arrive knowing they must be prepared to rescue someone instead of planning to fight the fire. Those precious seconds saved may mean the difference between safety and a tragedy.”

— Bethany Bray