Our Fire Department answers about 90,000 911 calls every year. The nature of those calls has changed a lot over the last few years. More and more of them are what can be called social service calls. These are still people that need help, but our emergency services are not always the appropriate resource.
To address this, the Tucson Fire Department implemented the TC-3 program. I wrote about the TC-3 program in a previous newsletter. The aim of the TC-3 program is to identify frequent users of 911 and get them in touch with appropriate social service providers. It’s worked well so far. One client generated 54 calls to 911 from January and August of last year. Since the TC-3 team got in touch with that client, he has not called 911 at all.
Results like that happen because the TC-3 program is partnered with 110 local agencies. They range from the City’s Housing Department to Catholic Community Services.
The TC-3 program itself, however, is very small. Up until recently, there were only 4 people working on the team. We’ve recently found a new partner that has enabled us to expand the program. TMC HealthCare’s charitable foundation has provided a program manager who is dedicated to securing grants and other resources to hire 12 additional staff to expand the team’s reach.
TFD is also developing what they are calling the SMART program in conjunction with the Police Department. The aim is to identify “non-emergent” calls quickly and send a special unit to respond. The hope is that this will free up other units to respond to urgent calls. Much of the same community resources that are used for TC-3 can be put into play for this program.
The city is going to be overhauling its website. It’s all about making things more user friendly and to make it more possible for you to access services through it.
There is also something that many of us don’t have to think about: how do you use the website if you are visually impaired?
My staffer Christopher Desborough is legally blind and has offered to give some help in the redesign. Working with Chris made my staff and I realize how difficult some simple things around the office can be. We’ve learned a lot. I know Chris will be a tremendous asset to this process.