TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) –The Tuscaloosa Fire Department recently hired two social workers to respond to non-emergency calls.  

The new hires are a part of the EMS Prevention Program, which will provide case management services to people who first responders identify as having unmet medical, mental health, or social needs.

Brianna Jones, the coordinator of the program, says it’s making a big difference.

“So our fire fighters are trained to identify anyone with medical, mental health, social needs when they respond to a medical emergency,” Jones said. “If they do identify someone who needs a follow up, they refer that patient to us and then we as the EMS prevention team can follow up via home visit with the patient to see what kind of services we can provide to reduce their need for 911.”  

Jones says after EMS fire crews respond to a call they will then refer the case to the social workers.  

The EMS Prevention Program has helped 1,254 clients during face-to-face home visits and 2,356 others by phone.