QUINCY — Norfolk County Sheriff Jerry McDermott is expanding a seat belt cover program that alerts first responders to the fact that the wearer is on the autism spectrum and might respond to emergency situations differently.
McDermott rolled out the covers to most police stations in the county and is now partnering with Quincy-based Fallon Ambulance to distribute them in the community. The covers, which slip over a seat belt, displays the message: "I have autism; I may resist help." The covers are free to people who want them.
“As Sheriff, I see on a daily basis, the importance of assisting our police and incredible first responders," McDermott said in a statement. "These common sense public safety measures are cost effective initiatives that can save lives, and Fallon has been on the front lines for years, and we appreciate their ongoing commitment to the people of Norfolk County and the region."
Police and other emergency personnel said people with autism may not respond verbally in an emergency situation or accept help.
“This much-needed program safeguarding those with autism in the event of a road emergency is a great partnership with public safety," said Peter Racicot, senior vice president of business development at Fallon Ambulance in a statement. "Anything that helps our first responders to better assess the most appropriate way to assist a victim or passenger, is certainly a welcome tool in providing outstanding patient care in the field."
Reporter Joe Difazio can be reached by Jdifazio@patriotledger.com.