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  • Minnesota's First Autism Resource®

    Autism Society of Minnesota

First Responder Emergency Preparedness

inside-the-truck1webWith a steadily increasing diagnosis rate, autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in Minnesota. Because of this high prevalence, it is likely you will encounter someone affected by autism in your work as a first responder, in the criminal justice system, in public safety and security, as part of the medical community, and beyond.

This page includes resources to assist your encounters with individuals with autism.

AuSM offers customized, scenario-focused training that includes understanding, planning and teaching steps to effectively handle emergency situations. The class includes two hours of engaging instruction, plus information about emergency preparedness resources available to those in Minnesota. We encourage local emergency responders and staff to seek training to ensure positive outcomes in emergency situations involving individuals with autism and many other similar special needs. 

Topics Covered: A general introduction to autism; characteristics of autism as manifested in children, teenagers and adults; how to interpret the behavior of those on the spectrum; anticipated behavior of those with autism in emergency situations; suggested strategies for the communication and behavior management of those with autism in possible emergency response situations. 

Who Should Participate: police officers, firemen, EMTs, paramedics, security workers, ER and trauma workers, crisis team members, social workers, correctional officers, school safety officers, students of CLC in relevant areas of study.

Continuing Education: The training is POST qualified, which means that police officers can use the training for continuing education. Proof of attendance can be provided to those who require CEUs in another field. 

To learn more or to set up an AuSM autism training, please contact AuSM's education department at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 651.647.1083.

Emergency Preparedness Fact Sheet
A quick and basic guide for families, caregivers, and individuals with autism. Click here to access the document.

Emergency Forms for Families and Individuals
Click here to download a pdf of several emergency forms that can be completed by families and individuals with autism and shared with first responders.

5ptscaleAutism 5-Point Scale Emergency App
Get familiar with the Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency App - Autism Help - for children and adults with autism. It may be presented to you when you arrive on the scene. The Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app is free and downloadable through the iTunes store for iPods and iPads. Click here to download the Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app from the iTunes store.

The Autism 5-Point Scale Emergency app also is available for Android devices. Click on the following links to access the app for your Android devices.

Google Play for Phone and Tablet
Amazon App Store for Kindle Fire and Fire Phone

The Incredible 5-Point Scale, Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis, Autism Asperger Pub. Co., 2003.

Autism Society of America
Access ASA's information sheet for law enforcement and other first responders.

Educating about Autism and Emergency Preparedness

MNPolicewebA 19-year-old with autism escapes from an anxiety-filled family situation by running out into a stormy August night. The police get involved, and as the scene unfolds, they discover that emergencies involving individuals with autism require a different kind of care. To read this story published in Minnesota Police Chief Magazine, click here.

Woodbury Police Officer appreciates autism training

woodburybadgeI just wanted to express my appreciation for your agency’s involvement in autism awareness and commitment to public education. I had the opportunity recently to attend a presentation by Paramedic Ernie Roettger on the topic of autism awareness and emergency management. I have had the pleasure of working directly with Ernie and am well aware of his ability focus his presentation to his audience.  Ernie is a dynamic presenter and has an innate ability to bring personal experience to the presentation that solidifies his message. 

I have been approached by numerous officers, some with decades of law enforcement experience, that after having attended the presentation that spoke highly of Ernie’s presentation. In the past, our education on the topic has been limited to video presentations which are dry and do not convey the personal impact that Ernie does.

Please feel free to share WPD’s appreciation for the work Ernie does for HCMC EMS and awareness for Autism Spectrum Disorders.


Scott McCafferty, Police Officer - Paramedic
City of Woodbury Public Safety