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Aug. 28, 2017
$125,000 grant will help Chandler Fire, Health & Medical lead the state in training about behavioral health

Chandler Fire, Health & Medical Department Chief Tom DwigginsBy Chief Tom Dwiggins, Chandler Fire, Health & Medical Department

Our mission at Chandler Fire, Health & Medical (CFHM) is being responsive to the needs of our community while delivering stellar customer service.

When a member of our community calls 911, they know they can expect highly-trained firefighters committed to helping them receive the best services possible so they can recover from a medical or fire event.

In addition to delivering top quality fire response and medical care, our team is always working to increase our efficiency and effectiveness to better serve the needs of our community.

One of the areas we know we can increase our skills in is assisting those dealing with a behavioral-health crisis.

CFHM wants to lead the state in equipping our firefighters with the tools they need to help every member of the community.

A proven, consistent approach that firefighters can use to de-escalate and assist with crisis intervention will take time to create but we have incredible partners here in the Valley who are making this goal a reality.

Each year Vitalyst Health Foundation awards innovation grants to projects that use breakthrough approaches to address community issues and I am pleased to announce that CFHM has received one of five grants for 2017.

Thanks to the $125,000 grant jointly funded by Vitalyst Health Foundation and the Arizona Community Foundation, we are partnering with Arizona State University’s Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy, the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Arizona, Community Bridges, the Crisis Response Network and Mesa Fire & Medical to create a curriculum to give firefighters a more thorough education in delivering the best possible care to patients and their families who may be suffering from a behavioral health crisis.

Additionally, Mercy Maricopa Integrated Care and Mercy Care Plan are providing training technical assistance and the production of course materials to help ensure we create the best course possible.

We are currently working with our partners to write this training curriculum and expect to begin offering it to the 202 sworn personnel at CFHM by early 2018.
Once we provide the anticipated training classes, we will spend time evaluating the effectiveness and then begin to share the training curriculum freely with other departments across the state.

Chandler Fire, Health & Medical is proud to be a leader in the fire service in delivering emergency response as well as preventive services.

Our Crisis Response programs, carried out by our community paramedics and social workers, provide support for patients who may be struggling to manage their complex medical and social needs.

Although we excel at assisting with the physical needs of our community, our commitment to increasing our skillset will now focus on the behavioral health needs, too, through this additional behavioral-health crisis curriculum.

We look forward to bringing you the results of this innovative training.