Posted by cservaes on March 12, 2012 in Alumni, "Current Students", Events, "The College"
While the average person would call 911 to diffuse the type of situation recounted here, Gina knows that most first response teams have not been adequately trained to answer the call to a PTSD scene. Often, the response further escalates the situation and puts the veteran and his family at greater risk because responders are utilizing regular protocol for arriving on the scene and subduing a potentially volatile conflict. Always her husband’s advocate and voice, Gina sought a solution to the problem by reaching out to Ottawa Police Chief Dennis Butler in 2008 to discuss how the police department could work with them to respond appropriately to future PTSD episodes. “I don’t want to ever feel afraid again to call 911 when I need to,” said Gina. Chief Butler informed her that a special alert could be put on the city’s 911 system. He also distributed an email to the department summarizing Allen’s condition, along with information about how to respond, i.e. without sirens and lights, and to speak with Gina upon arrival to assess the situation. Fifteen 911 calls later, the Hills have yet to have a bad experience. “My sincere hope is to see this level of cooperation duplicated throughout every community in the nation,” said Gina. To that end, Gina has worked to establish Silent Siren, an organization that partners with the Karla Smith Foundation to become integrated into a community’s existing 911 system, enabling all responders to be as prepared as possible for the unique challenges of a crisis situation involving those affected by PTSD and other mental illnesses. In addition, the organization provides other PTSD sufferers with support, resources, and most importantly, a voice. For more information, visit www.silentsiren.org