Washington, D.C.  (June 1, 2011)—After two years of successfully training more than 60,000 first responders in classroom settings about seizure recognition, the Epilepsy Foundation announces free, online epilepsy and seizure response training for law enforcement and emergency medical service personnel.

To date, nearly 1,200 EMS personnel have completed the training since its launch in March 2011, and nearly 200 officers have completed the law enforcement training since its launch in January 2011. The benefits of this online training module include self-paced instruction and the economic feasibility of free training with no travel or incidental costs. 

The Law Enforcement training takes about 45 minutes to complete, and aims to train officers on seizure recognition, the correct response to seizures and awareness of the unique needs of people with epilepsy, who might be taken into police custody. It includes a pre- and post- knowledge test, and each participant receives a certificate upon completion.
The EMS training, about 60 minutes in length, describes a variety of seizures associated with epilepsy, seizures with other potential causes, appropriate EMS response on scene, and issues to be considered when determining whether or not further medical care is warranted. The training is accredited through the Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services (CECBEMS) for 1.5 CEUs.

“While most law enforcement and EMS personnel do an outstanding job of handling calls regarding seizures, our legal defense fund has represented numerous people with epilepsy, who have been injured—and in some cases fatally—as a result of their interactions with first responders,” said Sandy Finucane, executive vice president of the Epilepsy Foundation. “By expanding our curriculum with these online trainings, we will be able to provide accurate information to first responders in more communities, and give people with epilepsy and their caregivers greater confidence that calling for help will yield positive results,” Finucane added.

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent seizures. A seizure happens when abnormal electrical activity in the brain causes an involuntary change in body movement or function, sensation, awareness, or behavior. When someone is having a seizure they often become confused, cannot communicate and do not understand or respond to questions or orders. The person’s actions may be misinterpreted by first responders as resistance or violence.

 “I have been providing epilepsy education and awareness training for law enforcement personnel for many years,” said Susan Eddins, statewide prevention and education coordinator for the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. “This is a very user-friendly website, which provides all the information we know to be important for better understanding of epilepsy.  I am very pleased to have this tool and have already referred it to law enforcement agencies throughout Florida.”

This training, which was created by the Epilepsy Foundation and powered by CentreLearn, was developed with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under cooperative agreement number 5U58DP000606-05.



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