New stickers help families with special needs during emergencies - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

New stickers help families with special needs during emergencies

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You might often see a bumper sticker representing your sports favorite team or supporting a politician. However, a new sticker being given out has a more important message.   

One local organization is helping those living with special needs prepare in the event of an emergency.

Lisa Mattheiss with LifeLine said their program aims to help first responders and those with unique circumstances to better interact.

"It will enable them to have a heads up that someone they are about to interact with may have a disability or a special need,” Mattheiss said.

Wednesday, LifeLine began handing out stickers that say, ‘SNAP’ - it stands for Special Needs Awareness Program.

The goal is to bridge the communication between first responders and families with special circumstances.

"It could be sensory issues, it could be pain, it could be something else, fear, anxiety, anything could manifest itself as behavior,” Mattheiss said.

The stickers can be placed on cars or on your front window. It’s a tool that will let first responders know how to better communicate and assess the situation.

"That behavior can be misleading; we want to make sure that they understand that the behavior they are about to witness might have a different source,” Mattheiss said.

It’s something Linda McMurray has been searching for, her mother is a double amputee and is frequently concerned about her safety.

"By this coming about it gives me some relief to know that somebody will be paying attention quicker than me trying to call somebody or something like that,” McMurray.

It’s that relief LifeLine hopes to provide and allow first responders to better serve the community.

"It may help change the course of the interaction from something that is positive to something that is very negative I could actually be life threatening, so we want to make the difference,” she explained.

First responders in Hamilton County have one more SNAP training on Monday.

Families can also fill out a 911 registration form with information about their needs. They can leave copies inside their glove box or at home if their loved ones can't verbally communicate.

To obtain a SNAP sticker you can contact LifeLine 423-622-4007 or visit their website.

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