Five Saginaw-area fire departments have received autism sensory kits to comfort children with autism and other special needs in emergency situations. The kits were provided as part of a new initiative, Carter Kits, named in honor of Carter Severs, a five-year-old with autism whose father, Justin Severs, is a Saginaw Township police detective.
For the project, Severs partnered with Saginaw firefighter Brandon Hausbeck and local realtor Andrew Keller. The first ten kits, which contained noise-cancelling ear muffs, sunglasses, sensory toys, a weighted blanket, and fidget devices, were donated courtesy of Keller.
According to a report this month by Mlive.com, the kits were unveiled during a December 12 press conference at Saginaw Fire Department Station No.1, with the Severs family, Keller, and emergency personnel in attendance.
“Having some of these tools is going to help us a lot,” MMR Paramedic Supervisor Rob Warnemuende said, referring to emergency situations. “The lights are bright, the sirens are loud. With the headphones, with the sunglasses, (we can) keep them calm, that’s key."
The Carter Kits popularity is growing, according to Keller, who said that fire departments across the state, and even across the country, are already reaching out about getting involved.
“It’s important,” he said. “I think these kits will make a big impact. We’re going to figure out a way to keep this going and keep this growing.”