Arizona’s Heart & Sol: Northwest Fire District team cares for victims after first responders leave
TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -A special division of the Northwest Fire District is providing assistance to victims long after first responders leave the scene, making them this week’s Heart and Sol recipient.
Save lives, protect property, and care for our community. That’s the mission of NWFD’s Community Assistance Program, or CAP.
This team is ready to serve the community 24/7. Even if it’s a weekend or a holiday, if you need them, they will be there.
CAP is a team of just two people: Heather McAlees and Stacey Christian. Even though it’s just them, they do a lot.
CAP helps eliminate various kinds of dangerous situations like addiction, mental crisis, homicides, and suicides. They also provide resources to victims domestic violence, assault, and fires.
“We consider it an honor because people allow us into their lives at a very difficult time and a very private and personal time. So for us to be able to be a part of that and assist them in getting back to their source of social support, which is our ultimate goal,” Christian said.
CAP receives their calls from first responders anytime they think someone might need a little extra help after an incident.
“It gave firefighters, EMTs, and first responders a sense of peace knowing that individual community members were being taken care of even when they needed to go back into service,” McAlees said.
McAlees and Christian then arrive at the scene with their toolkit on wheels. It’s full of all different kinds of resources for victims: extra clothes, hygiene products, dog leashes, even stuffed animals for kids. They also help victims get the outside help they need.
“Sometimes it is just helping people navigate the resources exist in the community. We are not about providing the resource because so many agencies are out there and already doing that, but if you’ve never navigated a system before, you may not know how to do it,” Christian explained.
McAlees has been with CAP 20 plus years and Christian has been on the team for about 15 years.
The CAP team says the $300 they received as part of their Heart and Sol nomination will go straight back to the community as part of their pay it forward program.
If you have someone you think embodies the “Heart and Sol” of Tucson, you can nominate them here.
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