Augusta County Sheriff's Office partners with county schools for Project First Responder

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — The Augusta County Sheriff's Office is partnering with county schools to launch Project First Responder.

Project First Responders Flyer. | Credit: WHSV

It's a program that allows emergency personnel to respond appropriately to situations involving people with disabilities.

The idea to start the program came from parents in the school system who wanted to make sure their children would be safe in an emergency.

How deputies may respond to one person may not be the best way to respond to someone else with Autism, Alzheimers, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD).

Sheriff Smith said deputies went through training to know how to handle those types of situations.

"Whatever the case may be. If we can identify that while the deputy's in route to the call, everybody involved is safer. That's the key thing," Sheriff Smith said.

Family members and caregivers can give the Sheriff's Office information on the best way to handle emergency situations with their loved one.

The information will be stored in their database and be readily accessible when deputies respond to a call.

Sheriff Smith said this program will make the community safer for everyone.

"Not only does it keep, you know, the citizens safe and keep their loved ones safe, it also keeps the deputies safe," Sheriff Smith said. "So I think it's a good situation for everybody involved."

Deputies will be at school open houses for people to apply. Project First Responder will only be available for those in school system at first, but they will open it up to the community at a later date.

Anyone with questions about the program can contact Deputy Steve Davis by calling the ACSO's non-emergency line at (540) 245-5333.