Knowing how to Respond is Critical
While the overwhelming majority of law enforcement and EMS personnel do an outstanding job recognizing and handling citizens experiencing seizures, in limited cases they may respond with inappropriate force to behaviors associated with seizures, especially complex partial seizures. These particular seizures cloud awareness, block normal communication, and produce a variety of undirected, involuntary and unorganized movements that may be erroneously viewed as aggression. The results can be fatal, especially when dangerous restraint practices are used.
This section provides first responder agencies guidance on how to appropriately recognize and manage persons having seizures -- to ensure the safety of all parties.
Recognizing a Seizure
Check for a medical identification card or bracelet indicating that the person has epilepsy.
If family members or bystanders report that the person has epilepsy, assume that the observed behavior is seizure-related.
Seizure activity in the brain may affect speech, consciousness, and movement to such an extent that a person cannot respond or interact normally during the seizure or immediately afterwards.
Actions during a seizure are undirected and not under conscious control.
Emergency medical teams and law enforcement personnel can reduce the risk of injury and a fatal outcome by remembering a few key points when responding to reports of a seizure or someone acting strangely.
Getting the Training You Need
Take advantage of seizure awareness and response training offered by Epilepsy Foundation affiliates across the country. Learn more.
New Online Training: Epilepsy and Seizure Response for Law Enforcement. The Epilepsy Foundation announces its online training for Law Enforcement professionals. The 45 minute, online training course is free, and the user can receive a certificate of completion. This product was developed with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under cooperative agreement number 5U58DP000606-05.
Purchase DVDs and materials for first responders, or FREE public education materials (although you must cover the cost of shipping & handling) at our online store.