On Saturday, April 30, 2022, the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) hosted its inaugural Sirens of Silence event, “A Special Day with First Responders” in partnership with the San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center in the City of Pomona.
Taking place on the last day of Autism Awareness and Acceptance Month, the sensory-friendly event welcomed families who have loved ones with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other special needs to meet and engage with public safety partners and health agencies.
The LACoFD and SG/PRC collaborated with the California Highway Patrol, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Pomona Police Department, Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, CARE Ambulance, Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation, and the Western University of Health Sciences to host this event.
Individuals of all ages had the opportunity to see, touch, and try apparatus and equipment in a sensory-sensitive space; mutually share with first responders how to best approach loved ones with special needs; and learn how to protect their families in emergencies. The family-focused event also featured sensory stations, a mock doctor’s office, a pop-up dental clinic, music, and a COVID-19 testing site.
The LACoFD’s Sirens of Silence program promotes special needs awareness, education, and inclusion through training and extensive resources, such as a picture board with emotions and common needs and a visual schedule that gives patients a clear picture of what to expect when first responders care for them or their family members. The picture board, visual schedule, and other useful materials (i.e., contact information cards, home signs, etc.) are available to download for free on our website in various languages.