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Published: July 25, 2008 05:31 am ShareThisPrintThis
Beverly pushes to enhance 911 for disabled
By Cate Lecuyer
Staff writer

BEVERLY - A program that allows people with disabilities to register with a local 911 database isn't exactly new, but police have started spreading forms around the city to get more participation.
"We're trying to get the word out," said Art Daignault, the city's Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator.
The standardized forms stem from a federal program to help local police respond to residents with disabilities. They're available at the police station, at the senior center, have been distributed at various elderly housing developments and will soon be online at Fill it out, and get it back to the police station by mail, fax or in person and, if you ever have to call 911, details about your disability will pop up along with your other information.
"So we know how to best respond to the individual that's calling," said police spokesman John McCarthy. Depending on the disability, a code will alert police if someone is blind, deaf, speech-impaired, is in a wheelchair or has otherwise impaired mobility, is on life support, or is developmentally disabled.
All of the data are voluntary and confidential, McCarthy said, and can certainly be useful in an emergency.
"It helps us in determining what may or may not be going on," he said.
The disability program has been in place since last year, when the dispatch center got a more sophisticated 911 system that uses GPS to track phone calls, but Daignault said it's only been advertised within the last couple of months.
McCarthy said he doesn't know how many people have signed up so far, but encourages more people to fill out a form.
"I've got four in front of me now," he said
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