A bill that would aid first responders in helping individuals with special needs in emergencies passed the House today 96- 1. Rep. Gina McCabe, R-Goldendale, sponsored the legislation, called the “Travis Alert Act,” after hearing from Travis’ mom, Threasa King, during the Legislature’s second special session in 2015.
“Travis, like many with autism, is attracted to water and when he feels threatened or afraid, he often wanders toward water. And that was one of the Kings’ fears — if they were somehow injured or incapacitated, Travis may run toward nearby water and could drown,” said McCabe. “With the system I’ve proposed, Travis’ life, and the lives of others, could be saved.”
The bill would establish an enhanced 911 program for people to optionally submit information pertaining to one’s disability so dispatchers could deliver critical information to first responders during emergencies. It would also create a training program for first responders instructing them how to best respond to emergencies involving persons with special needs.
“The “Travis Alert Act’ is a great first step in ensuring individuals with disabilities remain safe in emergencies,” said McCabe. “This legislation will be an important tool for firefighters, law enforcement and medical responders, too. I’m glad to see this bill gain momentum, and I hope the 14th District is able to say they were the first in the nation to enact this critical program.”
The bill would apply to a variety of special needs, including Downs Syndrome, autism, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
House Bill 2287 now advances to the Senate for further consideration.