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Philadelphia creates new emergency response team for behavioral health calls

Digital Brief: Aug. 7, 2023
Digital Brief: Aug. 7, 2023 03:17

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Philadelphia Fire Department created the new AR-3 response unit to serve physical and behavioral health crises. The unit is a partnership between the Fire Department, Managing Director's Office and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS).

"This innovative approach will provide an appropriate crisis response while ensuring continuity of care after the emergency has passed," Assistant Deputy Commissioner for EMS, Martin McCall said. "It's the City's first behavioral health response team with an EMS component."

The unit will run from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. primarily in North Philadelphia during its pilot phase. The unit has a marked SUV equipped with care providers including paramedics, EMTs, behavioral health specialists and behind-the-scenes support staff.

"We are pleased to continue our efforts to ensure our system responses are aligned with DBHIDS's TEC vision to address Trauma, achieve Equity and engage Community, and we look forward to AR-3 in partnership with the City's Fire Department," DBHIDS Commissioner Jill Bowen, Ph.D. said.

This is all part of the Fire Department's Mobile Integrated Health Initiative.

If you or someone you know is in danger, call the suicide and crisis lifeline at 988.

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