As part of her 2020 Proposed Budget, Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan recently announced new investments to increase support for the first responders and expand medical and treatment services for Seattle’s most vulnerable communities.
Fire Chief Harold Scoggins and the International Association of Firefighters Local 27 President Kenny Stuart joined the Mayor and others for the announcement at Fire Station 2 on Sept. 11, 2019.
The Mayor proposes investing an additional $400,000 in mid 2020 to enhance the Seattle Fire Department’s soon-to-launch Health One program. Health One is a team of specially trained firefighters and civilian specialists that will help people with non-emergency (low acuity) 9-1-1 requests for issues like substance use, non-emergency medical issues and a need to access services.
“We know the demand is high for addressing low acuity calls in our community. Many of these calls are related to homelessness, mental health, social needs, drug and alcohol use and chronic medical issues,” said Fire Chief Harold Scoggins. “The launching of the Health One program will immensely increase our ability to meet the needs of our patients, by connecting them with the appropriate services.”
In 2018, 42 percent of medical calls received by Seattle Fire were deemed “low acuity”, or non-emergency. These calls dispatched a Seattle Fire unit, and generally resulted in no action or a non-emergency transport by an ambulance provider to a hospital’s emergency department.
The Health One team will focus serving in the downtown core for this initial phase.
In May 2019, the Mayor, Councilmember Sally Bagshaw, and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins announced the City’s first Health One unit, which will deploy in downtown Seattle in October.
Other investments the Mayor proposed:
- Support the Seattle Police Department’s Crisis Response Unit with four additional mental health professionals, one assigned for each precinct
- Create a dedicated nurse line for homelessness service providers to call for non-emergency medical needs
- Add dedicated nurses at our largest shelters and three permanent supportive housing buildings that have the highest-volume 9-1-1 calls.