Chattanooga fire engines now equipped with sensory kits - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Chattanooga fire engines now equipped with sensory kits

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

The Chattanooga Fire Department is taking another step to help bridge the gap between first responders and the special needs community. 

This newest advancement is through special tools to help in the event of an emergency.

Each of the city's 26 fire engines now carry special kits to help in emergencies with people who have trouble communicating because of intellectual disabilities. 

"These trucks are full of things from front to back so it had to be a small kit," Captain Skyler Phillips said. 

Each truck is now equipped with a green back and manual. 

"Really enjoy toy cars, rolling the wheels around. Coloring, obviously, is a big issue with any child, Legos, a lot of these guys love to play with legos. And then the sensory things," he added. 

It's the next phase of the Special Needs Awareness Program (SNAP) which kicked off earlier this year. 

Phillips has trained hundreds of other fire fighters and first responders and the kits make that interaction easier. 

"De-escalation is what we really focus on because there's a lot of stimulus going on. There's a lot of loud and lots of smells and bright lights and all of this," he added.

Phillips got the idea while speaking with a special needs teacher. 

With the help of the Chattanooga Firefighters Association, Phillips received the $1,000 needed to make the kits and manuals for each of the city's fire engines. 

"A person involved in an accident in Chattanooga with disabilities has a better chance of having a positive outcome and I think that makes it all worth it," Phillips said.

Phillips is taking the SNAP Program to the national level where he will present it during the EMS Today conference in February. 

You can learn more about the SNAP Program by clicking HERE

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