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Free training on handling epileptic subjects

A free training program about 45 minutes long can help you avoid a tragic misreading of circumstances that could result in a subject’s unwarranted injury or death and lawsuit problems for you and your department. The topic: how to recognize and deal with a person who’s experiencing an epileptic episode.

Unfortunately, these events, which are not always as obvious as a full-out seizure, have prompted uninformed officers in some instances to believe they are dealing with a violent drug reaction or aggressive resistance rather than a medical condition. Some have unnecessarily employed TASERs, batons, even firearms in misdirected efforts to establish control, sometimes with dire consequences.

To enlighten officers and enhance the safety of everyone involved, the Epilepsy Foundation has designed online training for LEOs, in cooperation with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The easy-to-follow program trains you to recognize symptoms of subtle and overt seizures, to respond in ways least likely to cause harm to you or the subject, and to be aware of the unique needs of epileptics who may be taken into custody. When you finish the course, you receive a certificate of completion.

Similar training, lasting about an hour, has also been developed for EMS personnel. Both versions are available here.

This website also hosts a video series on police response to subjects with seizures, reports of confrontations gone awry, summaries of lawsuits against agencies in epilepsy-related wrongful deaths, and other useful information about this condition, which afflicts an estimated 3,000,000 people in the U.S. alone.

Our thanks to Sarah Cole of the North East Multi-Regional Training district in Illinois for alerting us to this program.

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