Contact: Barbara Brandt
Director of Communication
Chief of Communications/Partnerships
Vitals™ Aware Services
Aug. 13, 2018 – Plymouth, MN – Hammer Residences, one of Minnesota’s largest providers of residential programs for people living with developmental disabilities, will start using the Vitals™ App in the coming weeks.
Hammer has become the first organization of its kind to partner with Vitals™ Aware Services. The Wayzata-based nonprofit will launch the new program with 20 individuals in three different apartment complexes.
The Plymouth Police Department uses the Vitals™ First Responder App and endorses this new partnership which is designed to help officers better handle situations when they are dispatched to the participating apartment programs – Vicksburg Village, Plymouth Colony and Stone Creek.
Officers are frequently called to group homes to deal with individuals experiencing a medical emergency. Situations can become disruptive or dangerous when responding officers lack critical information about the individual. Vitals™ is beneficial to the officer by providing critical information about the person, even before they enter the building.
Minnesota is considered a leading state in creating and investing in innovative programs that foster more independent living for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“We want our residents to get the most they can out of life – whether it’s working a job or going to the park. Our goal is to maximize independent living,” says John Estrem, CEO of Hammer Residences.
“We know that a major part of living a full life is the need to feel safe. I believe that Vitals™ will help our residents and their families have more peace of mind when they interact with law enforcement officers. We are excited about using this innovative technology. It aligns perfectly with our mission.”
“We feel that this resource will be a tremendous help in providing people we serve the support they need to be safe in their community and be able to be as independent as possible,” says Sue Walker, CPO of Hammer Residences.
Hammer serves more than 1,600 adults with developmental disabilities and runs 36 residential group homes and 10 apartment programs throughout the Twin Cities western suburbs.
“We are very excited about our new partnership with Hammer. Our team believes that Vitals™ can be a tremendous asset to the professionals who manage these residences as well as to law enforcement responding to calls,” said Stan Alleyne, chief of communications and partnerships for Vitals™.
“With the Vitals™ First Responder App, law enforcement and other emergency responders will have access to critical information in real-time, before they approach the incident. We believe this will help them interact more effectively and give them another tool to keep people safe.”
About Hammer Residences, Inc. Since opening its doors in 1923, Hammer has helped thousands of adults and children with developmental disabilities experience life to its fullest. Founder Alvina Hammer believed that individuals with disabilities had the right to lead full lives in a loving atmosphere where they would feel secure and develop self-confidence. Hammer was one of only two Minnesota organizations at that time to offer people with disabilities the opportunity to thrive in a school and home setting. Today, Hammer Residences, Inc. provides residential and customized support services, including In-Home Support, Support Planning, Case Management, and Healthcare Coordination (SNBC) to more than 1,600 people throughout the state. To learn more about Hammer visit hammer.org.
About Vitals™ Aware Services Vitals™ works by equipping first responders with information voluntarily provided by VitalsTM enrollees. Law enforcement and other first responders download the Vitals™ First Responder app on their cellphones. The service allows a vulnerable person to register online, then wear a beacon that takes the form of a keychain, necklace, debit card or bracelet. An Android phone can also serve as the beacon. When a Vitals™ user comes within 80 feet of an officer or first responder equipped with the service, the officer will get a notification about the person’s diagnosis and how they may best interact with them.
The Twin Cities-based tech company developed the app-based service in partnership with The Autism Society of Minnesota. The service was launched last August in St. Paul and has expanded to Roseville, Chaska, Hopkins and the Three Rivers Park District. In March, Dakota County became the first Minnesota county to implement the service. Crow Wing County became the second countywide launch two months later.