Sentinel Handbook

Tips for security, safety, and crime prevention volunteers

Dealing With The Unexpected: People With Special Needs

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Not every patrol is going to be a piece of cake. You will run into the unexpected, and you will have to be prepared to deal with the situation. Keep in mind that you are only a volunteer. Without special training, you can do more harm than good if you don’t know what you’re doing. If in doubt (and there is no immediate danger) call for the professionals and wait for them to arrive. Remember, you’re there to help, do no harm.

No matter what type of situation you are responding to, there is the possibility you will encounter someone with some form of disability who will require assistance. Some disabilities may be obvious, but other disabilities, such as mental illness, may not be easy to detect. Often you may not be able to tell if someone has a disability simply by looking at them. If you find yourself in a situation where someone is slow to respond, don’t become impatient. Take a deep breath, let it out, and assess with a clear mind.

People You May Encounter Who Need Special Assistance:

  • Seniors
  • People With Mobility Impairments
  • People Who Are Mentally Ill
  • People Who Are Blind Or Visually Impaired
  • People With Cognitive Disabilities
  • People With Multiple Chemical Sensitivities
  • People With Autism
  • People Who Are Deaf Or Hard Of Hearing
  • Childbearing Women and Newborns
  • People With Seizure Disorders

In order to better help official First Responders, a basic guide was created. While not in great depth, it does give people first on scene some tips of how to help assist those people with special needs. Again, when in doubt (and there is no immediate danger) call for the professionals and wait for them to arrive. (Tips for First Responders 4th Edition – 486kb, PDF file, 30 pages)


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