Abbotsford firefighter praised for efforts with autistic

Often ran back into danger in a crisis moment

An Abbotsford firefighter is being praised for his efforts to help those with autism better handle emergency situations.

In a crisis situation a person with autism may become frightened by the lights, noise and personnel and actually run back into the danger and hide. Abbotsford firefighter Ryan Coombes recently planned an event for children and families living with autism.

Karitas Townsend was approached by Coombes a few months ago and asked if her six-year-old son Blake would like a tour of a firehall and truck in the hopes of making him more comfortable around emergency first responders. The visit to the hall was not only beneficial for Blake, but also for the firefighters, many whom had never known someone with severe autism.

Coombes then arranged an autism family awareness event with Monarch House (they offer therapy for developmental disorders). Coombes did all of this on his own free time and found some friendly co-workers to donate their day off last Saturday to bring a truck to Monarch House during a Family Appreciation barbecue being hosted at the site.

Thanks to his previous visit, Blake was much more comfortable around the truck and crew, showing how exposure before a crisis is beneficial.

Autistic people are very tactile and many children had the opportunity to touch and feel the firefighters in their gear as well as the truck.

Coombes also donned his gear and oxygen tank and played in a ball pit with the children .

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Body cameras in, then out, of Abbotsford Police budget

Chief Mike Serr says force reflects city’s diversity

Family of dead Abbotsford football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

Sex offender Danny Depew sentenced in Abbotsford to 2.5 more years

Depew still has child-luring charges before the courts in Ontario

Abbotsford Airshow launching virtual Aerospace Camp

Online S.T.E.M. open to students aged 10 to 15, starts later this summer

PHOTOS: Playtime is back!

Paula Morrison of Angel Daycare Centre captured a moment of absolute joy

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

New platform allows readers to make a one-time or ongoing donation to support local journalism

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

B.C. ranchers, lodge operators say Indigenous land title shuts them out

Tsilhqot’in jurisdiction affects grazing, access to private property

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Most Read