First responders to deploy Vitals app
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 73 percent of people living with a severe disability show no signs of their disability, such as the use of a device or wheelchair. These individuals are said to have an invisible disability. Richfield’s first responders will be deploying the Vitals app to better serve these residents.
“As first responders, we are always on the lookout for new technologies to help us serve the Richfield community more effectively,” explained Police Chief Jay Henthorne. “All of our officers are well trained to identify and interact with all populations, but adding the Vitals app will ensure they can make more informed decisions when responding to calls.”
Since its creation in 2017, first responders have embraced the information service to bridge the communication gap between themselves and the populations they serve. Up until now, this tool has primarily been used by law enforcement agencies.
The Vitals app enables safer community interactions by allowing individuals with visible and invisible conditions and disabilities to create and share a personalized digital profile with authorized first responders through a secure, mobile app, improving real-time communication, reducing the risk of misunderstandings, and promoting greater independence.
During the enrollment process, a personalized profile is created which contains important information about the account holder.
The enrollee then receives a Vitals Beacon, which alerts Richfield first responders’ cell phones and tablets when they come within 80 feet of the individual. The first responder will then be supplied with critical information, triggers and proven de-escalation techniques, ensuring that they have the right information on how to respond to individuals who may be at risk.
“The more advanced preparation our officers have when responding to a call, the better chance for a positive outcome,” remarked Lieutenant Bill Stanger. “The 80 foot notification the Vitals app gives our officers will be a big help when it comes to providing aid to our residents with disabilities.”
In Hennepin County, nine other law enforcement agencies utilize the Vitals app.
Where the City of Richfield differs in its deployment of the Vitals app is that it will not just be used by the Richfield Police Department, but the city’s Fire Department will also utilize the app when responding to its more than 4,000 calls for service a year.
The Fire Department will be the first in Hennepin County to use the Vitals App.
“The Richfield Fire Department responds to calls for services from both adult and youth with a variety of visible and invisible impairments on an almost daily basis,” said Fire Chief Wayne Kewitsch. “Interacting with first responders can be stressful or triggering. We are glad to add an additional tool to our tool belt that will make these interactions easier for the community.”
Both the city’s Police and Fire Departments agree that Vitals app will serve the Richfield community most effectively if vulnerable persons and their families create accounts.
“If you are a vulnerable person or are a caregiver of a vulnerable person, I strongly encourage you to sign up for the Vitals app,” implored Kewitsch. “The only way our first responders will know if they need to approach a situation differently is if we are notified by the app.”
Richfield first responders will start using the Vitals app on October 1.
To learn more about the Vitals App or to sign up for the free program, visit: https://thevitalsapp.com/