These Innovative Firefighters Deserve a Round of Applause

Last updated on November 4th, 2019

Where can you go to get help with chemical dependency? For those already involved in recovery programs, the answer may seem obvious. For those still deep in the trenches of substance abuse, the way out isn’t as clear.

Where can you turn?

Turns out the fire departments in Manchester, NH decided they wanted to be part of the solution. Local fire stations recently stepped up to provide some pretty amazing support for people who are struggling with addiction. The program is aptly called “Safe Station: Your Connection to Recovery.”

Here’s what you need to know about this innovative program.

A Light in the Darkness

  • Who
    Manchester, NH fire stations have been designated as “safe havens” for those looking to start their path to recovery. The fire department is joined by other local organizations in the community to provide
    recovery services
    .American Medical Response ambulance service provides emergency transportation when needed. The Hope for Recovery organization directs people to an appropriate treatment center. The Granite United Way’s “211” community resource hotline is used as the call-in number for those in crisis. Additionally, United Way, Anthem, and Catholic Medical Center have all signed up to assist with funding the project.
  • What
    Anyone seeking treatment assistance can go to a MFD Station and speak with the firefighters on duty. They will provide a medical assessment or make arrangements for one. If the situation is medically urgent, the firefighters will arrange transportation to a medical facility.

Those who seek help at a Safe Station are required to drop all needles and drug paraphernalia in a collection bin at the fire station. If they’re in possession of illegal substances, the police department will be notified, but only for disposal purposes.

  • When, Where
    Anyone struggling with substance abuse can walk into a Manchester fire station – day or night – to get help. When someone comes in for assistance, the company officer will contact dispatch with a “Code Hope” that takes the company out of service temporarily, while the they resolve the situation.

All ten fire stations in Manchester are part of the Safe Station program. What’s more, after Manchester initiated the program, the fire stations in Nashua, NH have all followed suit.

  • Why
    Most emergency rooms are overwhelmed right now. The Safe Station program provides an alternative for those who need immediate help, but not immediate medical assistance. It also offers a new resource for those who don’t know where to turn for help.

Manchester mayor, Ted Gatsas explains, “When you can bring the nonprofit world, the public sector, the business community and members of the community at large together, you can make a difference in this epidemic. If someone is ready to make a change in their life, it’s important that we get them the help they need right away.”

Igniting Positive Change

Local firefighters say they’ve noticed a significant drop in overdose responses. In January 2015, they responded to 60 overdose deaths. This January, there were only 30.

As of March, 2017, over 1,200 people have already taken advantage of a Safe Station in Manchester. Those who have shown are between the ages of 18- and 70-years-old and come from all over the state.

Nicely done, Manchester.

Additional Reading:   7 Beautifully Simple Reasons to Embrace Treatment

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