Training for first responders to be held Thursday 

Program will help attendees work better with blind individuals

The+idea+for+the+training+came+after+Caleb+Hyndman+went+with+Courageous+Kids+Climbing+staff+to+interact+with+police+officers+and+get+hands-on+experience+with+certain+police+equipment.

COURTESY OF JEFF REICHMANN

The idea for the training came after Caleb Hyndman went with Courageous Kids Climbing staff to interact with police officers and get hands-on experience with certain police equipment.

ALEXANDRIA OSBORNE, Evergreen reporter

First responders can attend a training in Clarkson, Idaho, on Thursday to learn how to better work with individuals who are visually impaired or blind. 

The Isaac Foundation and Courageous Kids Climbing are hosting the program. Jeff Reichmann, Courageous Kids Climbing executive director, said 14-year-old high school student Caleb Hyndman, who is blind, will teach attendees how to accommodate blind individuals. 

The idea for the training came after Hyndman went with Courageous Kids Climbing staff to interact with police officers and get hands-on experience with certain police equipment, Reichmann said. 

When Hyndman was explaining to officers how he uses his cane, he accidentally bumped into an unloaded weapon, Reichmann said. 

“This is when we were approached to put some training to educate people on some of these concerns with kids that are blind,” he said. “We didn’t want them to bump a cops’ weapon and have the cop get excited and want to shoot them.”

During training, Hyndman will present a first-person scenario of what it is like to interact with emergency responders as a blind individual, said Vicki Leeper, Disability Action Center Northwest outreach coordinator.

Leeper said this training will help rid first responders of the discomfort they may feel when presented in a situation they have little experience with. 

“[Hyndman’s] good at this, and he’ll make you feel at ease,” she said. 

Reichmann said this is the first training directed toward first responders working with blind individuals, but he is hoping to hold more trainings around Idaho and Washington. 

The program will also help get the word out about the challenges blind people face and how first responders can help, he said. 

As a retired firefighter himself, Reichmann said equipping first responders with this information is important. 

“This was something that in all my years of working in the fire service, I was never taught,” he said. “Our goal is to just make first responders, police, EMS, search and rescue, school nurses, make them all aware of some of the issues these kids face.” 

Reichmann said any first responder can attend the training, including school teachers, ski patrol, nurses, and search and rescue. 

There will be three classes lasting 45 minutes; one at 2 p.m., one at 4:30 p.m. and one at 7 p.m., he said. 

The training is free, but Reichmann said it is highly recommended to email courageouskidsclimbing@gmail.com in advance to allow the organization time to set up enough seats.