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Special needs residents encouraged to alert emergency personnel

Tawnya Panizzi
| Friday, Dec. 1, 2017, 12:51 p.m.
Sharpsburg Fire Department
Lillian DeDomenic | For The Tribune-Review
Sharpsburg Fire Department

Residents who require specialized care from emergency service responders are being asked to submit a form to Allegheny County.

“It gives us a heads up,” said Andy Marsh, Aspinwall emergency management coordinator.

Unique care might include people with mobility or vision problems, or those who can't communicate with police or fire responders.

“Basically, anything that would prevent you from getting up and leaving your house,” Marsh said.

The three-page special needs registry form is available at

A release from County Executive Rich Fitzgerald's office said there are 159,027 people in the county who have some type of disability, according to a 2012 survey by the U.S. Census Bureau.

This can include people with autism, those who are deaf, blind and those who have intellectual disabilities, Fitzgerald said.

Marsh said the registry was started to provide better preparation.

“If we need to bring special equipment, maybe it's a bariatric patient, then we know beforehand,” Marsh said.

The form is voluntary. Authorized caregivers can complete the form for people that are unable to do so. Information will be shared with 911, fire and police.

“This is a great way for us to plan,” Marsh said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, or @tawnyatrib.

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