A new scheme has been launched across West Sussex to help people with speech or communication difficulties contact the emergency services.
The new Pegasus card, which was launched last week, will make contacting the police and other emergency services easier and could cut vital seconds off an emergency phone call.
People who register for the card will be asked to provide their contact details and information about their circumstances which will be stored in a secure database for contact handlers to access in an emergency.
When calling the emergency services Pegasus users will be asked for their Pegasus PIN code and the contact handler can access their details immediately.
The scheme has already been introduced at Surrey Police and is also being supported by South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB), East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service.
Users can also show their card to staff from these organisations face-to-face to get the help and support they need more quickly.
The registration process will be administered by volunteers based at Billingshurst police office, with initial applications being taken from January 6, 2015.
It is expected that the first subscribers will receive their card within one month of making an application.
Chief Superintendent Neil Honnor said: “I’m delighted that we are introducing the Pegasus card within Sussex, as this supports our wider work towards making our services more accessible for disabled people in the community. Our contact handlers can access a caller’s information immediately and get them the help they need, which could save vital moments in an emergency.
“I would also like to thank the dedicated and hard working volunteers of Billingshurst police office for giving up their time to support the scheme alongside officers and staff; they have a crucial role to play in the scheme’s success.”
Danielle Harris, centre manager at St Nicholas Centre in Lewes, a day care centre for people with learning disabilities, said: “At St Nicholas Day Service and across the wider Learning Disability Service we are always seeking new opportunities to support and empower clients who have communication difficulties. The Pegasus Card supports this ethos and promotes positive engagement with the community and other local services available to them. We look forward to working in partnership with the initiative as it moves forward.”
To find out more about the scheme and make an application, visit www.sussex.police.uk/pegasus/or email Pegasus@sussex.pnn.police.uk.
Details of Disability Engagement Officers across the Force can be found at www.sussex.police.uk/help-centre/ask-us/disability-engagement-officers/what-are-disability-engagement-officers-(deos))
More information about our work to support disabled people in the community can be found at www.sussex.police.uk/policing-in-sussex/the-organisation/equality-and-diversity/equality-and-diversity-disability-and-mental-health