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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE In an emergency, it can be vitally important for first responders (police officers, firefighters or emergency medical services personnel) to know that a resident of the household where help is needed is visually impaired, hearing impaired, mobility impaired or has other special needs. Springfield-Greene County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications offers a registry for those with functional needs in order to provide first responders with as much information as possible when responding to a call for help. The "9-1-1 Functional Needs Indicator Request Form” can be found online as a Microsoft Word document at springfieldmo.gov/911 or filled out in person at the City of Springfield’s Citizen Resource Center inside the Busch Municipal Building, 840 Boonville. "I strongly encourage family members, caregivers or guardians of those with special or functional needs to complete this form so we can provide first responders with as much information as possible. This is your chance to help us help you,” says Zim Schwartze, Springfield-Greene County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications director. Information provided on the form is confidential and only appears on the 9-1-1 telecommunicators’ screens when they receive a landline 9-1-1 phone call from the address provided on the form. “When you call 9-1-1 from a landline phone, our system automatically displays the address, telephone number and the name of the individual connected to the telephone account at your address,” Schwartze explained. “Upon completion and submission of this form, additional information can be displayed on the screen that will identify any functional needs of the person(s) living at the address.” While the functional needs registry is only available for 9-1-1 calls made from landline phones, Schwartze adds that her department is currently working on a project to upgrade its capabilities to receive 9-1-1 text messages. “This capability will greatly enhance communications for those who are deaf, have a speech impairment and other disabilities. More information will be forthcoming in the next year as this project moves forward,” she says. # # # For more information, please contact Zim Schwartze at 417-829-6209 or firstname.lastname@example.org.