PASCO, WA- The Pasco Fire Department just added a 'Resource Navigator' position to help reduce non life-threatening 9-1-1 calls. The Pasco Resource Navigation (PNR) is a partnership between the City of Pasco and Consistent Care Services.
Heather Martinez is in that part-time role.
She helps provide services to people who might need a little extra help in areas, that if left unmanaged, could end up calling 9-1-1.
In the first half of the year, Pasco had 67 people who called 9-1-1 four or more times.
"What we are trying to do is reduce the number of 9-1-1 calls by helping people live healthier lives and longer lives inside their current residences, says Martinez.
She is employed by Consistent Care Services, but will be spending most of her time with Pasco Fire.
Pasco Fire Department tells NBC Right Now that a third of the time they have a second call in the same general area. This means other crews may have to respond to a critical accident from farther away.
"We are dispatching a lot of ambulances to a true non-emergency event and so we are wanting to be able to take care of those needs, they have true needs" said Ben Shearer, Community Risk Reduction, Pasco Fire Department. "If somebody calls for a cardiac arrest, we may be helping someone with their diabetes issues and it's going to take us longer to get to the critical patient."
Pasco Fire's goal is to help reduce 9-1-1 calls, but they also want to help citizens live healthier lives.
Martinez gives this example: "You have an elderly person and they are at risk for falls or they are calling 9-1-1 repeatedly because they are falling. I may be educating them on the number of throw rugs that they have down or, you know, telling them it's time to look at getting access to a walker or wheelchair or a cane or whatever assistive device they may need."
She will be giving people education on things like medications and chronic conditions, help them access food programs, give them information about community resources and mental health services.
If you need assistance and want to contact Heather Martinez, you can call the Pasco Fire Administration at (509) 545-3426.