DIDD Trains Emergency Workers on Supporting People with Disabilities

Monday, June 13, 2016 | 08:41am

Lessons learned will be valuable in emergencies and daily interactions

JOHNSON CITY— The Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) presented training to about 50 medical professionals and first responders from several counties in Northeast Tennessee Friday.

Participants in the training are responsible for organizing community response during large emergencies or natural disasters, and the knowledge gained Friday will help them to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) should a crisis arise.

Topics of the training centered on communication, medical issues, and professional crisis management specific to people with I/DD.

“This training will be valuable not only in a crisis but also in everyday encounters,” said DIDD Commissioner Debra K. Payne.  “The more understanding we all have of the people with disabilities in our community, the better the outcomes of our interactions will be.”

The training was organized by the Tennessee Department of Health’s Northeast Tennessee Regional Health Office Division of Emergency Preparedness.  The invitation was extended to create a partnership to educate all parties to better support Tennesseans with I/DD during an emergency or disaster situation.

“This is a forward-leaning and innovative training partnership, and we are looking forward to further collaboration,” said Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner John Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “I want to applaud the initiative shown by regional staff members in both departments to create opportunities like this.”

In March, trainers from the Department of Health came to DIDD’s East Tennessee Homes to present their personal emergency preparedness training.  The relationships formed at that event started the collaboration that led to Friday’s training for nurses and first responders.