Leadership Hudson class working to make city ‘SAFER’

by Michele Collins

The Leadership Hudson Class of 2023 is finalizing plans for its class project, SAFER Hudson, a program that will provide local police, fire and EMS members with valuable information prior to an emergency call. 

The class “wanted to do something that would help every member of the community,” according to Jennifer McKinley, a member of the leadership class who also works as the Hudson Ministerial Association’s community resource coordinator. She explained that SAFER – an acronym for Safety Awareness for Emergency Response – will benefit both residents and first responders.

“The information we will provide through the SAFER form will let emergency responders know of any issue they might need to know about someone placing an emergency call from a house or business,” she said.

As an example, McKinley said, a family that includes someone in a wheelchair would list that information with the SAFER program. Then if a call comes from that home requesting police, fire or EMS, the address would be flagged to say a person at this location is in a wheelchair.

“This would enable the first responder to be prepared. They might have to bring additional equipment or search different areas of the home, because they know that a person is in a wheelchair,” she said.

Other examples could include people who suffer from mental illness or who are non-verbal – both of who might not respond to the emergency workers in a typical way. Some homes, she also noted, might include an elderly person who stays only on one floor or someone with other health needs like continuous oxygen.

McKinley said that the Leadership Hudson Class of 2023 has gotten a positive response towards its SAFER project from Hudson police, fire and EMS administrators, as well as from Hudson City Schools and organizations such as EMS Outreach and senior citizen groups.

More information will be forthcoming to let residents know how to register, which will entail filling out an online or paper form, she said. The group also plans to spread awareness about the program.

“We will reach out to numerous organizations to tell them about SAFER and to help their members with completing the forms,” McKinley said, adding that the form is similar to what is already being used in the county’s “Take me Home” program, which supports individuals with communication difficulties and their families.

“By having a ‘Take me Home’ form on file, first responders know what to do when people are lost,” she said. “Our form would let first responders know what issues there are when someone is at home.”

Leadership Hudson 2023 hopes to have their SAFER program out in the community in 2024.

According to its website, Leadership Hudson is a nine-month program that introduces participants to city, business and community leaders with the goal that they will serve in future community leadership positions. The program also encourages each class to develop its own unique project that will economically or educationally benefit the Hudson community.

McKinley explained that her current Leadership Hudson class has 11 members, and that some, like herself, have been waiting to get started because the program was suspended during the pandemic.

“I was supposed to be part of the 2020 class, but due to COVID-19, we had to put things on hold,” she said. “I am excited to be part of this Leadership Hudson class and to be working on this important project.” ∞