Special needs registry provides life-saving information

Local News

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A special needs registry is now open in Mahoning County.

The program is a collaboration between the Mahoning County Prosecutor’s Office and the Board of Mahoning County Commissioners.

The registry is free, voluntary and open to all residents with special needs.

It’s designed to help officers and other first responders better assist residents with special needs in the event of an emergency.

Families can provide information about their loved ones with developmental disabilities or cognitive issues, such as dementia, to the Prosecutor’s Office…

First responders will be provided information such as a person’s special needs, emergency contact information, physical description and a current photograph. Other information may include more details about their cognitive disorder or development disability and triggers associated with the condition.

“That we could really help gather information to make services, to render services quickly and expeditiously to those with developmental disabilities or cognitive disorders,” said Attorney Gina Zawrotuk.

The information is collected during the online registration process and uploaded into the dispatch system.

“We are very excited about the implementation of the Mahoning County Special Needs Registry. Many people with developmental disabilities, mental health disorders, and other impairments are non-verbal, making it difficult for them to communicate with first responders. Time is of the essence when law enforcement officers are dealing with issues involving a person with special needs. This registry will provide citizens with special needs an opportunity to inform law enforcement about their condition. We are confident this tool will assist us in our efforts to serve those in need,” said Chief Assistant Prosecutor Gina DeGenova.

If there is an emergency concerning that person or address, 911 dispatchers will receive an alert letting them know that person is on the registry, and they will be able to provide that information to first responders.

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