Recognizing a Model Program

CLEAR Receives Diamond Award

September 21, 2011

California Emergency Services AssociationSanta Clarita’s Special Needs Registry has received the Diamond Award from the California Emergency Services Association. The Diamond Award is the highest award presented to an individual or organization that demonstrates outstanding service in the area of emergency management. The Santa Clarita Special Needs Registry is a free safety tool that enables parents or caregivers to voluntarily provide information about a person with special needs prior to an emergency situation. Parents submit information and a photograph online. The data is securely stored and instantly available to assist the sheriffs if someone in the registry gets lost or is found. The information is also available to help sheriffs respond to people with special needs in emergencies or police encounters.

Over 250 people ranging from age 3 to age 88 are currently part of the registry. Special needs of those registered include autism, intellectual disabilities, seizure disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and Alzheimer’s. Individuals who are part of the registry are provided with special identification cards. The cards contain information from the registry so that Sheriffs have helpful tips to assist the person on the spot, and can contact a caregiver.

The Special Needs Registry is a partnership of local special needs groups, the City, and the Sheriff’s Department. It started in 2003 as a paper registry. In 2008, Kevin Tonoian of the City of Santa Clarita converted the registry to an online system that is easier for families and Sheriffs to use. The SNR is administered by the Santa Clarita Autism Asperger Network (SCAAN). Emily Iland, one of the founders of the registry, is the project manager.

Residents served by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station are encouraged to enroll family members or clients in the registry. Santa Clarita is one of few communities in the country to have this type of special needs registry that proactively provides key information before an emergency. Earlier this year, the Special Needs Registry was recognized by the Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a model for the country, on their Lessons Learned website.

Dept. of Homeland Security Recognition

Fall, 2011

The Department of Homeland Security/Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recognized the SNR as a model for the country, on their Lessons Learned website.
Download PDF Article