As a Leominster firefighter and the father of an autistic child, Lance Mason has a unique understanding of the issues parents and first responders face in emergency situations.  Over the past few years, Mason has been sharing that knowledge across the state.

On Monday, February 24 Mason will bring his program to Auburn, sponsored by the Auburn Fire Rescue Department.  He will be presenting  at Auburn High School beginning at 6pm (full details below).

” An individual with autism will have a drastically different response under stress than someone without autism” explains Mason.  “They may not self-rescue, they might hide, they may not call for help or respond to firefighter’s shouts.”

AutismEmergencyDecal

Example of identification sticker

Mason has been a Autism & Law Enforcement Coalition (ALEC) instructor for 9 years.  During that time he has held training for most Mass. fire departments and many parent groups, as well.

“We teach first responders about the specific challenges and techniques to handle them” says Mason.  “Just as important is educating the parents about what to expect from first responders.”

Among the many topics Mason will discuss are the use of special ID stickers and practicing home fire safety.

“We encourage the use of identifying stickers to make responders aware that they might be assisting an autistic person” says Mason.  “The ID stickers can go in homes and on cars to help keep individuals safe. About 50%  of autistic children are limited or non-verbal, so it’s important for awareness.”

Mason also emphasized the need to practice home fire safety.  “We recommend it and teach it, but people just don’t do it” he says.  “Families need to have a plan, to know what do do in an emergency.  With an autistic child, that need is multiplied.”

Mason’s program is free and open to the public.

When:  February 24, 2014
Where: Auburn High School Presentation Room
99 Auburn St.
Auburn, MA 01501
Time:   6:00pm
Cost:    Free

For additional information, contact Assistant Fire Chief Glenn Johnson at (508) 832-7800 or gjohnson@town.auburn.ma.us.