Hamilton County Coalition launches new opioid-fighting partnership with fire department
A new partnership between the Hamilton County Coalition and the Chattanooga Fire Department is hoping to be a resource for those facing addiction.
Starting next week, every Chattanooga Fire Department station will be a Safe Station.
Coalition communications consultant John Mitchell says all that someone battling addiction has to do is come to a station. There, they'll be connected with rehab resources through the coalition's Nu-Start program.
"They fire department now has a great resource to give individuals that are looking for help, instead of just making sure they're medically stable and sending them on their way,” Mitchell said.
Seth Miller of the Chattanooga Fire Department says firefighters' jobs are usually reactive, which is why the Safe Stations are opportunity to help the community in a new way.
"Preventing an overdose is way better than responding to one, so that's what we're trying to do,” Miller said.
The fire department has responded to 128 calls that required the use of Narcan since January. But Miller says the actual number of overdose-related calls is likely much higher. Part of the workload is responding to people who need help over and over.
"We have several members of our community that we get called several times for,” he said. “We've been to this man before, we've been to this woman before."
Now, Miller says the department will have the opportunity to get people a higher level of help and prevent them from needing to call in the future.
The program starts on August 31. The Coalition and the Chattanooga Fire Department will be hosting several events across the city to spread the word.