Brian Schaeffer

City extends Alternative Response Unit pilot

Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Chief, No Phone Number Available

Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 10:10 a.m.

City extends Alternative Response Unit pilot

An innovative pilot program that is part of an ongoing effort to evolve the Spokane Fire Department response model has been extended 18 months.

The Alternative Response Unit (ARU) pilot replaces large fire apparatus staffed with three to four personnel with smaller vehicles staffed by a single Firefighter/EMT or Firefighter/Paramedic when dispatched to non-life threatening medical calls. The innovative approach to emergency deployment creates flexibility that keeps larger trucks and the personnel that staff them available for other more critical calls.

After the initial six-month trial, performance data was analyzed and the results were extremely positive. ARUs responded to approximately 1,200 non-life-threatening calls for service during the six-month period that began in September and successfully prevented hundreds of responses for larger apparatus that allowed them to respond to life-threatening incidents throughout Spokane's neighborhoods.

The ARU program is part of an ongoing effort to better meet increasing demands for medical services. The department recently hired an integrated medical services manager with expertise in statewide EMS policies and practices to respond to lead its effort to integrate resources and information with the community healthcare system at each opportunity.

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