TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Golder Ranch Fire District will begin a new practice Monday aimed to help people with mental health problems.
The fire department is partnering up with Cenpatico, a mobile crisis team.
The department will be able to have the crisis team arrive to a incident location and provide care for a person that needs mental health assistance.
Golder Ranch Fire District's Deputy Chief of Emergency Medical Services says that the team isn't able to provide care for people with mental problems.
"If you look at the history of emergency services and behavioral health care, we are not ideally trained," said Josh Hurguy.
Before this new practice the department would put a person in an ambulance and take them to an emergency room, but Hurguy says that wasn't effective.
"From a provider's standpoint I have been a paramedic a long time and I remember taking behavioral health patients into the emergency room and understanding that wasn't the help they need," he said.
GRFD receives about 12,000 calls per year. Out of those, 30 calls per day are for medical reasons.
Hurguy says this partnership will allow Cenpatico to arrive on the scene with the fire department to treat people that need the proper care.
He explained that this will save anywhere from a couple hours to days in time.
"Behavioral health services are in high demand," he said. "By eliminating that emergency room stop and getting them into the behavioral health system earlier, they get the help that they need."
Hurguy says Golder Ranch will be the first fire district in Southern Arizona to carry out this type of practice.