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Tampa police, firefighters launch 'Operation Helping Hands'

Both agencies joined together to design a special sticker to help first responders recognize if someone has a medical need when responding to a call.

TAMPA, Fla — The Tampa Police Department and Tampa Fire Rescue have joined together to better help families who may have a family member with a medical condition or special need.

Through "Operation Helping Hands," Tampa police and firefighters created a special sticker for families to place near their front door to help first responders recognize if someone has a medical need when they are responding to a call at a residence.

Anyone will be able to register for a sticker through the special needs registry to place the sticker on their front door, window or refrigerator, authorities say. Special needs include diabetes, autism, Alzheimer's, Dementia, and those who are deaf, authorities say.

The sticker is not limited to houses. People can also place them in their car window, Interim Chief Ruben Delgado said.

"It's just a tool to give first responders going to the scene an opportunity to understand what they may be encountering," Delgado said.

"Operation Helping Hands" launched at 1 p.m. on Monday during a news conference to introduce the program to the public. Speakers included Delgado, Fire Chief Barbara Tripp and the City of Tampa ADA Coordinator Raquel Pancho.

Pancho is hopeful that the stickers will further help first responders understand a person's immediate needs even when they are unable to speak for themselves.

"Upon seeing these signs, the first responder can adjust accordingly," Pancho said. "For people who have diabetes and are unresponsive or are behaving like they might be intoxicated when the first responders see these on the windows, they'll know that there's probably a diabetic emergency that's happened."

Those who are in need of the sticker can click here for more details on how to sign up.

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