AUBURN, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Sirens and flashing lights are the sights and sounds of safety, but to people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, they may mean more harm than help.
People with Autism often have sensory sensitivity, so bright lights, loud noises, and unfamiliar people in stressful situations can trigger meltdowns, which can lead to physical harm.
"It's important for first responders to have this information because they can make a mistake early on, be very well-meaning... and end up causing harm to that person, or them," said Matt Brown, an instructor.
If emergency responders know they're going to a home where someone with Autism lives, they can adjust the way they enter a scene and approach the situation.
That's why the Auburn Fire Department has created an Autism Database. Participation is voluntary, and requires the completion of a survey about the individual's disorder.
Those registered will have a red flag appear next to their address in the 911 dispatch center.
So far, two families have registered in the Auburn Fire Department's database.
Firefighters completed training with an instructor from the Autism Society of Maine.
Now that they system is in place, they hope more people will participate in the program.
"The awareness program that we've implemented will allow us to better serve that special community in our city, and hopefully serve as a model for other communities," said Auburn Fire Chief Frank Roma.
To register for the database, call the Auburn Fire Department at 784-5433, or obtain the registration form here.