Stakeholders in downtown Asheville have made their voices heard. They want more resources to help maintain a safe and welcoming downtown, especially during the busy months of summer.
In response, the Asheville Fire Department is expected to launch a six-week Community EMT Pilot Program, sometime near the end of July or early August.
The program is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of increasing some public safety resources downtown and will utilize firefighters as a sort of Swiss Army knife of support, integrating roles of ambassador, public safety official, medical responder and law enforcement liaison. Firefighters would take to the streets of downtown on bicycles equipped with medical kits and defibrillators. Narcan is stocked in each medical kit, which would allow firefighters to address opioid overdoses and other opioid related medical issues.
Firefighters would also be collecting data of buildings in the downtown area for a program called First Due Size-up.