As the holiday season fast approaches and we all prepare for time to be spent with our families, I wanted to take a little time to tell you about a database we have created at the Calgary Police Service that can help you keep your loved ones safe. The Vulnerable Person Self-Registry is a simple concept that can have life-saving impacts in the event of an emergency or a disaster.
The registry is a database that allows people, or their caregivers, to voluntarily submit their information if they have a physical, mental, or medical condition that could potentially require some special attention during an emergency. This information is securely stored in a database that all first responders will be able to access through Calgary 9-1-1 when a vulnerable person is in danger or distress. This information will never be used as part of a criminal investigation. The information can be provided by the individual themselves, or by a parent of a vulnerable child, caregiver, legal guardian, health care professional, or agency support worker.
Since the database was launched in October 2015, 470 citizens have been registered, and we’d like to see that number grow even higher. If you think someone you know may benefit from being included in the database, encourage them or their caregiver to register their information with us.
First responders from multiple agencies have been using the registry on a weekly basis to help people in need. When a man who suffered from dementia went missing from his home, the information provided to officers through this registry helped locate him just hours later. The ability to access and distribute this information in a matter of minutes is an invaluable tool to all first responders who are dealing with an emergency. And there are a multitude of reasons why someone may need extra assistance from first responders in the event of an emergency. Some examples could include someone with Alzheimer’s disease, Autism Spectrum Disorder, a mobility, visual or hearing impairment, or a mental health condition.
When people register, they are asked to provide a recent passport-style photo, some general descriptors about themselves and some more specific information, such as methods of approach/communication and life-threatening medical conditions. This information must be updated on a regular basis; otherwise, it is removed from the registry. If you have already registered someone in the database, you can expect a renewal notice before the information is removed.
For more information or to register, visit calgarypolice.ca and search ‘Vulnerable Person Self-Registry.’
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Roger Chaffin is the Chief of Police for the Calgary Police Service.
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