Tuscaloosa Fire Department has one-of-a-kind EMS prevention program

Published: May. 3, 2022 at 8:01 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala, (WBRC) - The Tuscaloosa Fire Department has an unusual program that’s the envy of other fire departments and first responders. In fact, it’s the only one of its kind in the entire state. The fire department has come up with the EMS prevention program and that enables them to go beyond the call of duty and beyond the original 911 call.

Eight years ago a Tuscaloosa fire paramedic noticed certain patients often called 911, so they came up with an idea. Brianna Jones and her fellow social worker Emma Sims are the result of that brainstorm, in a program now known as the Tuscaloosa Fire Rescue EMS Prevention Program and it works like this:

“Basically, if we have a patient in the community that is continuing to fall in their home so the firefighters can refer that person to us, so we go out and do an assessment with that patient to try to see if there’s any services we can provide and refer them to to help reduce their falls,” said Tuscaloosa Fire and Rescue EMS Prevention Coordinator Brianna Jones.

In short, it will reduce the need for them to call 911 but also find services directly tied to their particular medical situation.

“In home case management assessment we do we can help our clients without a lot of limitations,” said Emma Sims.

Jones and Sims say they now make anywhere from three to six home visits per day. What started out as a pilot program is now very much part of the fabric that makes up the Tuscaloosa Fire Department.

“We don’t bill the patient. We don’t bill the insurance company. We are just here to help you,” Jones said.

Jones says since the program’s inception the amount of 911 calls has dropped by 80%.

Whenever the alarm sounds there’s a good chance Jones and Sims won’t be far behind in terms of follow-up visits, all because that paramedic who went beyond the call of duty 8 years ago.

Jones says the Tuscaloosa Fire Department has been contacted by other departments throughout the state and the country who want to learn about this growing program.


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