The September 26th Project: An Annual Emergency Preparedness Checkup

September 21, 2022

10 minutes every 365 days can save lives.

National autism advocate and co-founder of the National Council on Severe Autism, Feda Almaliti, died on September 26, 2020, as she was attempting to rescue her son Mu, who had autism, from a house fire at their California home.

Unfortunately, this was not the only time a tragedy like this has befallen members of the autism community. In early April 2022, twins Mar’kyi and Mar’kym Pierce, both diagnosed with autism, perished in a house fire in Trenton.

Feda and Mu’s lives and story inspired their family to create the September 26th Project. This project provides resources to help families and their loved ones with autism prepare for and avoid a similar tragedy.

For some people with autism, learning the concepts of fire safety can be difficult. Individuals with autism often need more individualized focused teaching strategies and may struggle with generalizing skills to real-world events. We should not assume that someone with autism will easily understand why fire is dangerous, how to respond to a fire alarm, the purpose of a fire drill, or the actions to take in the event of a fire emergency. In addition, some characteristics of autism such as hyper-reactivity to sensory input could impact how someone with autism reacts during a fire emergency.

As the Pierce brothers’ and Feda and Mu’s stories show, it’s an issue that can have serious and deadly consequences.

In tribute to their memories, we’ve compiled some proactive ways you can improve your loved one’s fire safety awareness and increase the likelihood that they would know what to do in the event of a fire. Read more>>