Canadian firefighters take autism awareness training

Fredericton, Canada – The Fredericton Fire department of Fredricton New Brunswick is the first Canadian fire department to take autism awareness training. The training is taught by Boston firefighter veteran of 35 years Bill Cannata, who also has a 24-year-old son on the spectrum.

Cannata told CTV News Atlantic that oftentimes people with autism,

“Try to flee the scene or they’ll aggress towards a rescuer to keep them away from them, so these are the tips that we’re giving these people, of how to handle these people.”

Fredericton Fire Platoon Capt. Steven Fraser, whose been a firefighter for two years, agrees the training will help. As he told CTV News Atlantic:

“It just increases our awareness of some of the situations we may encounter, responding to calls with people … who have children with Asperger’s or those sorts of things and we can adjust our responses accordingly.”

Cannata says many people on the spectrum aren’t aware of the dangers emergencies can have. Most sensitive to the ever-present bright lights and loud noises which are the norm in emergency scenes.

Cannata also noted that the tactics he teaches many not always be applicable, and prepared the firefighters for the typical reactions people with autism may have in those situations.

Cannata has taught this program in many U.S. states and overseas, but this won’t be his last Canadian stop. Many other stations in Canada are looking to partake in the autism awareness training as well.

Source: CTV News Atlanta: Fredericton firefighters first in Canada to undergo autism training