Travis Alert Law will benefit people with special needs and disabilities
YAKIMA Wash. -- A local family in Wapato have changed the way 9-1-1 responders assist people with special needs. Police officers and Firefighters will now be required to get special training to know how to deal with those who have any type of disability.
A couple years ago Travis King went missing and his mother Thearesa King feared he would not be found or get any help because Travis has Autism and has a hard time speaking and understanding people.
“We were yelling for him and my heart just sank and my feet felt like I had concrete on them and when I tried to yell his name I couldn’t imagine my child being gone out of my house,” said Threasa.
Soon after, Thearesa notified Representative Gina McCabe about an idea to let 9-1-1 responders know whenever they are dealing with someone with special needs.
The Travis Alert Act finally became a law in May of this year allowing anyone with a disability to provide their background information and medical records to first responders so that they are aware of any health issues ahead of time.
This law will also require police officers and firefighters to get special training so that they can better deal with any person with a disability.
“I really believe this is one of the things in a career of a firefighter that will actually benefit the patient and us as firefighters,” said Deputy Chief of the Zillah Fire Department Allen Walker.
First responders will be able to know if they are dealing with someone that has autism, Alzheimer’s, heart problems and so much more. Some of the training will include lowering sirens when approaching a house or knowing where to look for someone if they went missing,
Threasa says she will finally have peace of mind knowing that if Travis gets lost or is in danger, police will know how to help him.
"I feel safer for Travis for when I'm not here I think in a couple of years its really going to catch on and help a lot of people,” said Threasa.
Threasa says the Travis Alert Act was named after her son Travis King because he was the reason behind all of this.
“To know that all those years ago when I had my baby and I asked all those questions why, why me, why him. At the end I look and say this is why. He’s here to help other people,” said Threasa.
The Travis Alert Law was passed throughout all of Washington State and it will take effect July of this year.
“Helps kids like me,” said Travis.