Zionsville Times Sentinel

May 1, 2013

Promoting safety

Whitestown Fire, autism center partner for book

By Matt Werner
Staff Writer

Zionsville — April is National Autism Awareness month, and the Whitestown Fire Department is doing its share to recognize it.

WFD partnered with the Behavioral Analysis Center for Autism to develop a book for children with autism that teaches fire safety and prevention.

“A lot of our fire prevention programs are designed for school-aged children, but there’s never been one specific for children with autism,” said firefighter Johnny Baker. “We wanted to have one for (the students at BACA), and we want them to know us as their friends.”

Clinton Crafton, WFD division chief of EMS, said the idea for the book came after the firefighters visited the BACA facility when it opened.

“So much of the autism spectrum deals with sensory input and routine, and our hope is that they can put this book into their routine,” he said. “A fire drill and fire alarm are very sensory overload for children with autism, and our hope is that this will make it easier on the kids.”

Baker said by having the kids familiar with firefighters, it should make any fire event easier on them.

See Wednesday's Times Sentinel for the full story.