Special Needs Registry for county created for emergency personnel

By Donna Carver

November 26, 2013

Morrow County EMS & 911 and the Morrow County Health District have joined together to develop a registry for Morrow County residents with disabilities, chronic conditions, and other special healthcare needs to address the needs of residents in times of emergency.

The registry took approximately a month to develop once the concept and resources were determined.

This system is designed to identify individuals who may require special assistance during emergencies. Enrollment in the Registry does not guarantee assistance, but allows first responders to appropriately plan for, prepare for, and respond to the needs of the community.

Any individual, regardless of age, who has a chronic condition, disability, and special healthcare need, or may require additional assistance during a time of emergency should enroll. Some examples include people who use life support systems such as oxygen, respirator, ventilator, dialysis, pacemaker, or are insulin dependent; have mobility disabilities and use a wheelchair, scooter, walker, cane, or other mobility device; are visually impaired, blind, hard of hearing, or deaf; have speech, cognitive, developmental or mental health disabilities; or use assistive animals or prosthesis.

“We are going above and beyond what EMS is about and taking the next step in helping our community,” said Captain Travis Ries, of the registry.

If an individual cannot complete the enrollment form themselves, a family member, caregiver, or authorized representative can enroll the individual on their behalf. While enrollment in the Registry does not guarantee assistance, it allows first responders to appropriately plan, prepare for, and responds to the needs of the community.

The information submitted to Morrow County Special Registry is shared with local first responders and emergency management officials. These officials utilize the information to plan for, mitigate, respond to and recover from emergencies.

Additionally, Morrow County EMS has worked with Morrow County 911 to notify first responders when they are responding to a household that may have someone enrolled in the Registry. This notification allows first responders additional time to consider how to best respond to that incident. Please note that strict confidentiality is maintained at all times and only those that have a reason to access the information are authorized to do so.

Angela Smith, Morrow County Health Commissioner said, “People are sometimes reluctant to share this type of information with a database but we are only sharing it with the people who will be coming to help. No more. No less.”

Things to collect or keep handy which will be helpful in an emergency: list of prescriptions, including dosage and treatment, a list of allergies. Copies of your health insurance card(s), contact information for your doctors, pharmacist, and medical supply providers.

Smith emphasized, “We encourage everyone to be thinking through these things and preparing for themselves ahead of time.”

The forms to enroll in the registry can be downloaded at:

Click special needs registry tab on the bottom left of the Home page.

You may also go to any local fire station to request the forms or stop by Station one, the 911 Center, located on South Main St. in Mt. Gilead.

If you have any questions about the Special Needs Registry please contact: Capt. Travis Ries at