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South Milwaukee Fire Department carrying ASD sensory kits on ambulances

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Updated: 6:15 a.m. on March 12, 2020

SOUTH MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58) -- The South Milwaukee Fire Department is now carrying sensory kits on all of its ambulances.

The sensory kits are meant to help comfort people with autism spectrum disorder or ASD, during a call.

"For us, it's a low cost investment with the potential for a great outcome," South Milwaukee Fire Chief Joseph Knitter said.

The kits have headphones, stuffed animals, toys, sunglasses and a white board. The department first heard about the sensory kits while at a national conference and from a local resident who wanted to donate the toys.

Knitter said the first day the department had them on board, they were called to the home of an 8-year-old with autism.

"Because we come in a bright shiny ambulance with bright flashing lights and loud noises, we want to be able to provide them with a distraction," he said. "So we can calm their fears and we can maybe put them at ease and either deal with their medical emergency or maybe the medical emergency of one of their family members."

Knitter said several departments in the area and across the country have reached out to him to learn more about the kits. 

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Posted: 8:09 p.m. on February 27, 2020

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A call to 911 for a fire or medical emergency can be a stressful one, especially when it involves someone diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.

The South Milwaukee Fire Department recently accepted a welcome addition to the training they received on ASD awareness -- sensory kits. 

A South Milwaukee resident assembled and donated the kids for use with patients diagnosed with ASD.

Many of these individuals use similar items to cope with daily stressors. 

The kits will be kept on each ambulance.

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