PELHAM Ala., (WIAT) — The S.A.F.E.R Program, launched by Laura Ehrhart with the Pelham Police Department, is looking to expand.

The program launched last fall and uses an online registry where people with special needs can register their information with first responders. In an event of an emergency, this could help them communicate with them.

It is through Ehrhart’s experience as a 20-year dispatcher with PPD that she worked to start the program in Pelham. Due to the success, Ehrhart will soon be recognized through the Next Generation 911 Board for helping first responder safety in the community. She has already begun working to help nearby agencies with her efforts.

“I have trained the police department officers and the fire department on how the Pelham version of S.A.F.E.R is working. How our system works and how we will notify them of information and those types of things. And word of mouth is big so officers and firefighters will be handing out postcards that just have the information,” Ehrhart said.

Abbey Phillips, a family member of Ehrhart, is what helped inspire the program’s launch. It is through her 4-year-old son, Ward, who has down syndrome that she was able to gain information that can help people with special needs interact with law enforcement. Phillips says for any family with a kid with a disability having something like this in a community is helpful.

“He can’t tell you his name or where he lives or his parents’ names or his phone number. So if a first responder were to show up at our house or if he was just walking down the street he likes to escape to the back yard a lot. So if he were walking down the street and a police officer showed up he wouldn’t be able to tell them where he lived,” Phillips said.

Abbey is hopeful this program expands to her community. To register to join the S.A.F.E.R Program, click here.