WE LOST JOHNNY! WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
Agencies should have a well-reheared plan when a person goes missing from home, day program or duing a community trip.
The following guidance should be helpful:
Keep an up-to-date, ready-to-go information file for each person, including a recent photo, birth date, physical description, behaviors, communication ability, medical alerts, and favorite locations. The information should be in a format ready to email out.
- Have templates for ‘lost person” flyers and emails ready to use.
- Have an email distribution list prepared, including IAC and other provider associations.
- Develop relationships with local police precincts and fire houses.
- Purchase elastic wristbands, which are very popular for many causes. Have an inscription with the agency’s emergency contact number. ID cards are also appropriate, depending on the person. There are also electronic tracking devices that the person should carry which allows the police department to locate the person.
- When contacting hospitals, recognize that hospitals usually categorize lost people who have any form of intellectual disability as “EDP” (Emotionally Disturbed Person). Therefore ask the hospital if they had any recent admissions of EDPs. Also contact the hospital ombudsperson.
- Don’t assume that contacting one precinct and one hospital the word will spread through the system. It won’t. Do the legwork yourself.
- Make contacts in advance with various media outlets so they will be more likely to broadcast that your person is missing.