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Georgia: New law for county-based 911 database for disabled people

June 28, 2023, 11 Alive, Atlanta, GA: Coweta County to begin new 911 database of people with special needs under new Georgia law

Under the law, each county can have its own database that includes information about people in the home so EMTs and police can respond better.

NEWNAN, Ga. It's an effort to ensure the best response possible in case of emergency for special needs families in Georgia. Logan's Law goes into effect on Saturday and will give first responders additional information before heading out on calls.

Logan's Law is named after an 18-year-old girl with autism and other special needs. Under the law, each county can have its own database that includes information about people in the home with any special conditions or needs so EMTs and police can respond to a situation better.

Wednesday remained a busy day at the Coweta County 911 Administration center.

“We're starting our process to accept special needs forms from residents who have family members who have special needs," said Michael Terrell, director of the 911 center.

Terrell said it should take no more than five minutes to fill out the form.

“Let us know that they do have something that might be beneficial for us to have that knowledge ahead of time, maybe of medications, maybe specific medical needs that are not usual," Terrell said.

Information on residents with special needs or medical conditions will go into the system.

“It'll include some things like if someone that maybe lights or sirens or a loud noise irritates a person, they can put that in there, and that way the officers will know the proper response when they come out," Terrell said.

Shalandra Parker has worked as a special education teacher for 17 years. She said that many times, people with autism or other special needs are nonverbal, yet they still have their own ways of communicating.

"It’s not the way that we communicate, and a lot of times people misunderstand their cues, their non-verbal cues, and their way of communicating," Parker said.

Parker believes Logan's Law will create awareness and help emergency situations go smoother.

“When a person is nonverbal, when they don't talk, for example, they communicate with their hands and their body," Parker said. "Just by knowing that, they would know that someone's not trying to be violent, they're just actually trying to communicate.”

Those at Coweta County's 911 Center hope the law can help keep all members of the community safe.

“They will just have the knowledge and knowing what they're kind of going into the scene so they can be prepared to bring the best response possible to help that person in crisis," Terrell said.

This is a voluntary database, so each county can decide if it wants to participate.


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