FAN work in the field

  • Published June 30, 2024
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Featuring members of EMSC’s Family Advisory Network (FAN). Learn more about the FAN.

Name: Heather Martin, EMT

State/Territory: Wyoming

On May 10, 2018, Heather Martin, EMT, Wyoming EMSC FAN, and president and founder of Cody’s Puzzle Piece Foundation, Inc., lost her son due to injuries resulting from a car crash. Despite sustaining a severe head injury, Cody, a high-functioning autistic adult, fought with first responders while they were trying to render aid as his condition would force him into fight-or-flight mode whenever someone entered his personal space. First responders who knew him and the family were able to advocate for him at the crash site. After Cody’s passing, Martin embarked on a mission to help others like Cody and support first responders' families. She advocated to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders and their impact on communities. On January 1, 2020, HB0191-19, known as “Cody’s Law,” went into effect. This groundbreaking law requires the state to designate a “medical alert” on Wyoming driver’s licenses to make first responders aware of any medical conditions. It was the first of its kind in the nation and passed unanimously in the spring of 2019.

Martin, who has been an EMT for 20 years, initially considered quitting after Cody’s death. However, a conversation with the trooper who worked the crash scene inspired her to recertify at the last minute. 

“I had great discussions with my colleagues, and little did I know State EMSC program manager, Scott Logan, had a plan up his sleeve. When Scott called me about being the FAN rep for Wyoming, I immediately accepted! Though I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, I soon found out that Scott and I were not only in the same book, we were on the same page and paragraph.”

Scott also proposed the idea of equipping all Wyoming ambulances with sensory kits, which aligned perfectly with the mission of Cody’s Puzzle Piece Foundation, Inc. The organization is dedicated to advocating for "Cody's Law," supplying and restocking sensory kits, and educating the public about the unmet needs of children with similar challenges. Their next goal is to equip all Wyoming law enforcement and fire command vehicles with sensory kits, which would greatly benefit first responders in this rural state, where many have at least an EMR certification.