Special residents call for special training

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – Heroes and Halos is a local organization committed to people with special needs. On Saturday the group held its annual safety fair at Columbiana High School.

A number of first responders were at the event in hopes of building a trusting relationship with special needs residents.

Hands-on is just one way to get special needs kids and adults familiar with emergency staff and equipment. A medical helicopter was on display for anyone who wanted to get close and check it out.

“Some of these kids have a kind of a disadvantage because they are afraid because of their disabilities, so it is important for us to be able to come in and say, ‘Hi, I’m Kelli,’” said Kelli Harding, director of Heroes and Halos.

It’s just one of the things Heroes and Halos does. Harding works for the city of Columbiana on an ambulance and responded to a call where there were kids with special needs.

“It is important for me to find the people we have in our area with special needs, so we can further our skills and we can know who they are and we just can help make a difference,” said Harding.

The organization works with fire departments, so everyone can learn from each other.

“Our main goal here is to have the kids not be afraid of us,” said Columbiana Fire Chief Rick Garrity. “It is critical. We got to get to them quick, and if they call out to us it is going to make it a whole heck of a lot better.”

This is the third year for special needs safety day, which also included a health fair. Agencies were also on hand to talk to families about all of the resources available.

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