Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

The safeTY jacket program is a free and voluntary program designed to increase the safety of individuals with developmental disabilities. The program’s goal reads: safeTY jacket bridges the gap between individuals with developmental disabilities and first responders. The program aims to improve the communication and interactions between these groups by providing training, community engagement, and information sharing practices.
The safeTY jacket program helps individuals with developmental disabilities, their families, and first responders. It does this by decreasing elopement times and increasing disclosure to first responders. The program also provides training to the community and first responders to teach them how to identify an individual with a developmental disability as well as the most effective way to communicate and interact with them.
The safeTY jacket program is free to all program participants. The program provides all approved applicants with a set of identifiers for free. If an applicant would like more identifiers, they can be purchased at cost to the applicant.
There are many ways that you can support safeTY jacket. The easiest and cheapest way is to share the program with people you believe would benefit from it. Word of mouth allows for as many people as possible to learn about this option. Another support option would be to contact the safeTY jacket Facilitator at [email protected] and request flyers to share. Finally, financial donations are always appreciated and can help the program to support even more individuals. Approximately $15 will support a single individual for 10 years.


Anyone with a developmental disability can apply for safeTY jacket. If the individual is a minor, or has a legal guardian, their legal guardian is able to apply for them. If you are unsure whether or not you qualify, feel free to contact the safeTY jacket Facilitator at [email protected].
Applications are accepted if they meet the following criteria:
  • Individual has a developmental disability
  • Individual or legal guardian submitted the application
  • All 3 documents were submitted (application, photo, birth certificate)
    • Must be filled in completely
    • Must be signed
Yes. When an application is submitted, it is securely emailed to 3 people: your local EMS record keeper, your local police department record keeper, and the safeTY jacket Facilitator. These individuals use the information shared to create a secure file that first responders will see when they search an individual’s name, address, or license plate. The applications are stored for later use in a password protected, secure, database.
The birth certificate is required for application to ensure that the applicant is a minor and that the person submitting the application is their legal guardian. In cases where the applicant is over 18 but still maintains a legal guardian, proof of guardianship can be used instead of a birth certificate.
An application is good indefinitely. Applicants will be contacted by the safeTY jacket Facilitator on an annual basis to ensure that information is updated and accurate. See exceptions in ‘What happens when an applicant turns 18?’ and ‘How do I leave safeTY jacket?’.
When an applicant turns 18, 1 of 3 things may occur:
  1. The individual gains independence and they elect not to remain a part of the program.
  2. The individual gains independence and they elect to remain a part of the program.
  3. The individual maintains a legal guardian who can decide whether or not to continue with the program.
Updates may be made at any time. If an applicant needs to change information on their application, they can do so by going to www.safeTYjacket.org and filling out a new application and selecting ‘Update’. This will inform record keepers and the safeTY jacket Facilitator that it is not a new application.
The safeTY jacket Facilitator will also contact all applicants on an annual basis to remind them to submit an updated application with updated information and a recent photo of the applicant.
If you are no longer interested in being a part of safeTY jacket, you can use the ‘Contact Us’ section of www.safeTYjacket.org to contact the safeTY jacket Facilitator and request the removal of your information. Please note that the removal process may take 2-4 weeks to take effect.  

Identifiers & NFC Tags

There are 3 types of identifiers that you will receive: NFC Key Fobs, NFC Stickers, and ID cards with personalized QR codes. You will receive the following amount of each identifier:
  • 4 Key Fobs
  • 3 Stickers
  • 2 ID cards
Identifiers should be used in a way that maximizes the chances of a first responder seeing them. This will look different for each individual. ID cards can be worn as lanyards or put into pockets and/or wallets. Key Fobs can easily be attached to shoelaces, coat zippers, and backpacks. Stickers are often visible on back windshields and communication devices. 
Near Field Communication (NFC) is the same technology used in tap-to-pay credit cards. The tags contain a small wire and antenna that respond to magnetic field put forth by NFC sensors. When this magnetic field reaches the wire, it causes the tag to trigger and respond by sending information back to the sensor via the enclosed antenna.
No, NFC tags do not allow for tracking. NFC tags do not produce their own signal and are only triggered by the magnetic field that NFC sensors produce. NFC sensors must be within 6 inches of an NFC tag in order to trigger a response.
Information sharing practices refer to how first responders can see the information shared in an application. The information in an application is turned into a file, called a jacket, that first responders see when they search an individual’s name, address, or license plate. When a first responder opens an individual’s safeTY jacket, they will find a short paragraph about the individual and a photo of them.

Program Expansion & Training

The safeTY jacket program is currently available in Cass County North Dakota and Clay County Minnesota. The program hopes to eventually be available to the entire state of North Dakota.
Our aim is to expand the safeTY jacket program to all of North Dakota by 2028. If you are interested in getting safeTY jacket implemented in your area, please contact the safeTY jacket Facilitator at [email protected]. In order to expand, the program will need to have the interest of both the local developmental disability community and the local first responder agencies.
The safeTY jacket program provides trainings to both the community and first responders. Trainings for first responders are accredited through the North Dakota Department of Health and the North Dakota Peace Officer Standards and Training; meaning they qualify as continuing education for fire and police departments. These trainings cover how to identify and interact with the individuals the program serves. 
Community organizations can request a training by contacting the safeTY jacket Facilitator and informing them of what information they would like to be trained on. Community trainings commonly discuss how to interact with first responders when working with an individual with developmental disabilities.
The safeTY jacket program partners with businesses that provide services to individuals with developmental disabilities. By engaging the community in this way, the program is able to increase the likelihood that individuals and families who would benefit from the program are aware of its existence.
Do you have a question that wasn’t answered here? Feel free to reach out to the safeTY jacket Facilitator by either using the ‘Contact Us’ feature of www.safeTYjacket.org or by emailing the facilitator directly at [email protected].