TFD targets frequent non-emergency 911 callers

TFD targets frequent non-emergency 911 callers
(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Everyone knows that 911 is for emergencies, but Tucson Fire Department officials are noticing more people are calling when lives are not at risk.

The calls are stretching the system and costing you, the tax payers.

Officials have come up with a program designed to assist those who call most often with non-emergency issues.

TFD Captain Mike Bishop is spearheading the new program called Tucson Collaborative Community Care or TC3.

"The overall goal of us is to unite the healthcare and social service community here in Tucson," Bishop said.

Bishop and his crew of two others help callers that dial 911 daily for non-emergency issues. For instance, locals who need help with their diabetes medication, controlling their anxiety attack, or setting up something as simple as a doctor's appointment. The "frequent fliers" Bishop calls the group.

Tucson Fire Department public information officer, Barrett Baker, said, "That person still needs help. That's what this program is going to try to do, get them the right type of help."

TC3 connects them with a local agency that fits their specific need, so they no longer have to dial 911; freeing up emergency officials and inevitably saving your tax dollars.

"It only makes sense to think that it's safer and more economical for the city to send us a small pickup truck across town to go and visit somebody. Rather than a fire engine and medic," Bishop said. "We are trying to do the right thing and get everyone the help they need. … We are just doing that one person at a time. It's going to be slow, but we will get it done."

If you think your organization or agency could help the new TC3 Program contact Mike Bishop at Mike.Bishop@tucsonaz.gov.

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