A Seattle City Council member has a new idea for dealing with the thousands of non-emergency calls that Seattle firefighters currently go to every year: a new mobile health response team.
Council member Sally Bagshaw has proposed spending $500,000 on a pilot program in downtown Seattle.
“The overall system response will really save a ton of money and be a much more humane response,” she said.
The Seattle Fire Department has grappled with how best to deal with low-acuity calls, which are non-emergencies often due to chronic illness, mental illness and substance abuse.
“Every time that a unit goes out for a low-acuity alarm, that unit is out of service and they can't respond to a fire, a car accident, a cardiac arrest, etcetera,” Jon Ehrenfeld, the Seattle Fire Department’s low-acuity alarm program manager, said. “So it’s a really big concern.”