Council urges bill’s passage to establish special needs database

by Dan Holland

Jan. 15 city council meeting

Members of Broadview Heights City Council passed a resolution urging adoption of Ohio House Bill 321, requiring the statewide 9-1-1 Steering Committee to establish a statewide special needs database.

The resolution was introduced by Mayor Sam Alai and all members of city council.

The bill, which was introduced by the Ohio House of Representatives on Nov. 8, is aimed at providing additional information to first responders prior to arriving at a location to “allow them to have a better understanding to communicate with those involved if they have special needs and are listed in the database”.

State Rep. Gary Click, R-88, and State Rep. Brian Lorenz, R- 60, are the primary sponsors of the bill.

Among other information, the voluntary database would list items such as specific medical conditions, individual circumstances, atypical medication dosages and allergies.

Councilperson Brian Dunlap, a retired Broadview Heights firefighter who represents Ward 3, was instrumental in moving the resolution forward. The bill relates personally to Dunlap, whose son suffered a traumatic brain injury during youth.

“When I first heard about it from lobbyist friends of mine in Columbus, they were captivated by it, because it was something that I had brought up about 14 years ago,” said Dunlap. “People tend to notice something when it affects them personally.”

“H.B. 321 would establish a criterion that would all be run through 9-1-1,” he continued. “So, now when a first responder shows up, and is trying to establish the situation, and the person doesn’t seem up to par, now they’re not guessing so much. It will be huge for first responders so they can immediately assess that person much faster. They can have some kind of game plan for what the person is going through and be able to adjust to the situation.”

As of mid-January, the bill was in House Committee.

“I would be shocked if it didn’t pass in Columbus, because there are over 200,000 Ohioans who have been diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury, which takes in a large segment of the population,” said Dunlap. “Once it becomes statewide, and not just local, residents will reap the benefits, especially if they have someone who has a condition to meet the requirements of the register. I think we’re going to be a model for the whole nation with this bill.”

“I’m pretty excited about this, and we’ve needed it for a long time,” he added. “The fact that I’m now on council, and there is so much cohesiveness and heartfelt sincerity from council on this issue is very encouraging.”

In other action, council authorized:

  • An agreement with Ohio CAT for the purchase of a new Caterpillar Wheel Loader at a cost of $213,746.
  • An amendment for a previous agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation for the Royalton Road improvements from Seneca Boulevard to the west Corporation Limit.
  • A motion to make payment of $400 to NOCCA for annual membership dues.
  • A resolution establishing a 12-month moratorium on the acceptance and processing of applications for zoning, occupancy and/or building permit approvals for small-box discount stores in the city. The resolution is a continuation of a moratorium that has been in place since February 2019. ∞