Firefighters vs. Autism Works to Prevent Tragedies

Firefighters vs. AutismJustin Lewis is the dad of a child with autism, and a firefighter in Golder Ranch, Arizona. Because of both roles, Justin became concerned with the number of children wandering away from a safe environment (50% for children with autism), and the number of deaths of kids with autism that were attributed to drowning (91% for kids under 14, according to the National Autism Association). So, in 2013, he founded the non-profit organization, Firefighters vs. Autism, which operates out of Tucson.

The group’s mission is “to end wandering-related drownings and childhood deaths in the autism community.” They do this through education and awareness, so that the larger community—as well as parents of children with autism—learns about the threat of wandering and drowning for people on the autism spectrum. Firefighters vs. Autism also helps provides special training for firefighters and first responders, who typically aren’t trained to help children and adults with special needs.

As a firefighter, Justin knows that many emergency situations are preventable of people paid a little more attention and took a few relatively simple precautions. Therefore, the group raises money to pay for swim lessons, pool fences, autism service dogs, and equine therapy, for families that can’t afford it otherwise. They also host workshops and seminars to educate and spread the word about drowning and wandering awareness.

Firefighters vs. Autism has pioneered its own PASS alarm—Puzzle Alert Safety System—for southern Arizona, whereby members of the community can sign up to receive an alert any time somebody with autism goes missing in their specific area. The alerts are sent via email or text, and help establish an active network of people looking for the missing person.

For Justin and Firefighters vs. Autism, it’s all about preventing tragedies. And the best way to do that is through education, awareness and effort.

Rachel L. MacAulay

Founder at Challa & Haggis
Still learning that there’s no such thing as perfection in parenting, or in life, though I don’t stop trying. Avid reader; lapsed wanderer; reformed cynic. I believe every day should be filled with children’s laughter.

Related Posts

She Has Non-Verbal Autism, But Her New Friend Unde... If you have a non-verbal child, chances are you know how hard it is for them to make friends. That's why we know you'll love this video. The mother...
To All of the Amazing Dads To show our appreciation on Father’s Day, and every day, we present these nine wonderful posts celebrating amazing Autism Dads. ...
12 Year Old Creates Disability App Twelve-year-old Alexander Knoll is a shining example for changing the world at any age. The tween has invented the prototype for Ability App™, an appl...
Moms Who Inspire Mother’s Day is a day to celebrate your Mom. It’s also a day to recognize other Moms. We started this site six years ago, and during that time, we hav...
Woodstock Chimes Autism Story Garry Kvistad, founder and owner of Woodstock Chimes, has won a GRAMMY® Award, played music with The Temptations and started an international company ...
What It’s Like to Have a Brother with Autism This video is honest, heartwarming and amazing. By far and away, this very well could be the best 6 minutes of your day. Describing the video, Spencer...
INADEQUATE – A Comic by Maeril This beautiful work of art was introduced to us today and we can not stop reading it. Produced by Maeril, a freelance art director & illustrator, ...
Parents Make a Mini Blockbuster Store for Their Au... Blockbuster declared bankruptcy back in 2010 and even though DISH Network bought the last stores in 2011, most of us just assumed that all Blockbuster...
Speechless with Carly Fleischmann and James Van De... Carly Fleischmann recently videotaped and posted Episode 2 of her successful "Speechless w/Carly Fleischmann" show, the first "non-verbal" talk show. ...
Amazing Things Happen – An Autism Video A beautiful video by the Amazing Autism Project explaining Autism to stimulate understanding and tolerance in future generations. An official selectio...
Autism Eats — (How to Start) Dining Out with Autis... Being a parent of a child with autism can be hard. I do not think this is a statement that breaks any new ground. We miss many of the things that on t...
Elementary Teacher Creates Sensory Chair for Stude... The Raymond Ellis Elementary School in Round Lake, Illinois, recently made waves on Facebook when it posted a photo of one of its teachers with the "s...