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Service providers, first responders learn about Vitals app

Staff photo by Fritz Busch Vitals app manager Kris Arneson of Minneapolis talks at an informational meeting to staff from the Brown County Sheriff’s, Human Services and Probation Offices, the New Ulm Police and Fire Departments, New Ulm Medical Center and others at the New Ulm Fire Department Wednesday.

NEW ULM — First responders, detox, New Ulm Medical Center staff, probation, human services and other service providers learned about the virtues of The Vitals app at an informational meeting at the New Ulm Fire Department Wednesday.

The app allows caregivers and individuals to create and manager a personalized profile including important information about themselves to help inform first responders about the various, specialized needs and conditions.

The Brown County Sheriff’s Office and New Ulm Police Department recently began using the Vitals app to create safer interactions between first responders and people with disabilities and other conditions.

New Ulm Police chief Dave Borchert began looking at Vitals to help serve people with autism, but quickly realized the service will also help serve the senior population.

“Our officers have it built into their smartphones,” Borchert said. “It gives us a head start so people can get the best services available.”

“Not only will our officers have immediate information on how to de-escalate a highly individual situation, we’ll have contact information,” Borchert said. “This allows us to immediately connect a person with a loved one and a service organization that can be helpful. We’re very excited to sign up community members as we kick off the program.”

Eight Brown County Sheriff’s Deputies and 21 New Ulm Police officers will have access to the Vitals app and the valuable information provided by community members who sign up.

“We get real world information to law enforcement, which has to make split-second decisions. This reduces their risk of getting mis-information,” said Vitals app Manager Kris Arneson. “There are 100 million people in the U.S. with mental health problems. You just can’t know all the information about everybody.”

Each Vitals individual is assigned a Vitals beacon that transmits a private and secure signal to authorized first responders that are within 80 feet-allowing them temporary access to critical information. Arneson said the app beacon transmits signals for up to 300 feet in a field or ditch and it has a speed-dialing feature.

People enrolled in the program voluntarily provide individualized information in disabilities or conditions such as autism, dementia, depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar, anxiety PTSD, TBI, etc.

Registered people can wear a beacon as a keychain, necklace, debit card, bracelet or on a shoe lace.

The Vitals app is a Bluetooth technology, Twin Cities-based free safety service founded in partnership with the Autism Society of Minnesota in St. Paul in August 2017. For more information, visit www.thevitalsapp.com

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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