April 21, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Fire Launches Unique Program

Santa Monica Fire Department’s new Community Response Unit

By Dolores Quintana

The Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) has a new unit that may be one of the first of its kind anywhere. 

On September 13, the SMFD launched a brand new program called the Community Resource Unit or CRU. This new program seeks to offer the public, especially those who are most vulnerable, a new resource for people in need of help for behavioral health or other crisis as an alternative to calling 911. The CRU unit is an ambulance that carries two firefighters, but while it may seem like any other ambulance, it has a different goal in mind. 

“For the first few months, we plan on hitting the ground running. This is a completely new type of program for our Fire Department, or any Fire Department for that matter. We want to be out front learning as much as we can, and discovering where we are most effective. Out of the box, we are already equipped to do some amazing things like diverting mental health patients from crowded emergency rooms to alternative destinations, such as Psychiatric Urgent Care Centers, which is really where they can get the appropriate care they need,” Patrick Nulty, SMFD Fire Captain told the Santa Monica Daily Press.

Because those members of the community who are most at risk, including those people who are experiencing homelessness, only have the option of calling 911 for medical care, this program was created to address these issues specifically. 

The Santa Monica Fire Department website says “The CRU is part of the City’s four-pillar approach to addressing homelessness, which includes: prevent homelessness; address behavioral health needs; maintain access to safe, fun, and healthy open spaces; and advocate for regional capacity.” 

It is the City’s intention that CRU units will work together with the City Attorney’s office and Human Services Division and the Santa Monica Police Department’s Homeless Liaison Officers. The City would like for the CRU and these specific departments to work in harmony to achieve the best results and the City of Santa Monica’s long-term goals. 

Firefighters who are part of this program will also be given specialized training in mental health emergencies, crisis communications, de-escalation, and substance use disorders. Each CRU unit will have one firefighter who is a licensed paramedic. This will ensure that the CRU unit has the ability to access medical emergencies and check for severe health conditions in patients so they will be able to provide any care that might be needed as soon as possible. In addition, if the need for care is not critical, the firefighters can help in other ways. They can provide information and help people access other city services. The CRU unit members can transport patients to a more appropriate psychiatric urgent care center if their issue is mental health-related in origin.

“These highly trained Santa Monica Fire Department professionals look forward to serving the Santa Monica community and helping those in need with specialized interventions and access to supportive services,” said Interim Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe. “This is something our team has been working toward for a long time and this launch is a big day for us as we evolve our service to uniquely meet the community’s needs.” 

The CRU program has been funded by the Santa Monica City Council for fiscal years 2021 to 2023, with a budget of $523,000 for those two years. This includes personnel, training, equipment/vehicle maintenance, and other miscellaneous expenses. CRU services will be available to the public during peak hours from Monday through Thursday each day. 

“The Santa Monica City Council wholeheartedly moved the Community Response Unit forward earlier this year as one new investment to meet our community priority of addressing homelessness,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “The CRU’s ‘one meaningful intervention at a time approach’ will help improve outcomes for individuals experiencing homeless and will serve as an additional team on our streets to meet this crisis head on.” 

One of the other goals for the CRU units is to prioritize calls that do not need a traditional emergency response, leaving emergency units and the police free to service life-threatening situations. The CRU can then divert non-emergency and mental health issues to more appropriate services for help. CRU units will be able to work with city agencies, non-profit organizations, and other resources to get help for those in need. This is a very different function that will not only help vulnerable individuals but will lighten the load on emergency responders and services. 

in News
Related Posts

Make Science Your Destination This Summer

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Destination Science is the fun science day camp for curious kids with over 15 STEM activities weekly, three science stations...

Prime Time Sports Camps Coming Soon

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Prime Time Sports Camp has remained a constant in the everchanging camp landscape for over 30 years by following this...

Groundlings Summer Improv Classes Open April 2

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A summer of improvisation is around the corner at The Groundlings. Three months of summer class offerings for teens will...

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm  Doors open at 10am!!

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Coming to Venice for 4/20? Visit your original cannabis locals! Specials! Live entertainment @4:20pm Doors open at 10am!! Free goodies!!...

Report: Video Game Mogul Lists Palisades Home for $9.2M

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Built in 2018, the Wood-Shingled Home Spans 7,000 Square Feet across Multiple Levels Dan Houser, the English video game magnate,...

Venice Kush Hosts “The Real Deal” Cannabis Celebration at the Beach

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

A Day of Education, Innovation, and Community at Venice Beach Venice Kush is gearing up to host its much-anticipated “The...

Get Jokerfied with The People’s Joker Director Vera Drew Interview; Now Playing at the Nuart Theatre

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Vera Drew on Crafting a Trans Supervillain and Creating Comedy Chaos By Dolores Quintana The People’s Joker is an explosive...

Join Jerry Rubin for the Earth Day Tree Hugging Gathering in Santa Monica

April 19, 2024

April 19, 2024

Celebrate Mother Earth’s Splendor at the Iconic Moreton Bay Fig Tree Tree lovers, environmental enthusiasts, and advocates for Mother Earth...

Nicolas Cage Stars in Arcadian: A Bewitching Apocalypse

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

New Horror Film Delivers Solid Monster Movie Experience Arcadian is a new horror film starring Nicolas Cage (Dream Scenario, Mandy),...

SMC to Host Applied Music Showcase in May

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Highlighted Students Set to Perform a Variety of Songs, Instrumental Solos, Ensemble Pieces, and Original Compositions Santa Monica College’s Music...

(Video) Award-Winning Pianist to Premiere “Rocket Man: A Live Orchestral Experience” in Santa Monica

April 18, 2024

April 18, 2024

Classic Songs Will Include “Crocodile Rock” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” @smmirrornews “Rocket Man” is coming soon to Santa Monica...

Agreement Between SMMUSD and Malibu Moves District Separation Efforts Forward

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

The Agreement Awaits Approval by Both the Malibu City Council and the Smmusd Board of Education The City of Malibu...

Michael’s Santa Monica Celebrates 45 Years with Culinary Extravaganza With Famous Chefs

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Iconic Restaurant Hosts “Great Party!!” Benefitting No Kid Hungry Campaign  Michael’s Santa Monica is set to commemorate its 45th anniversary...

Los Angeles Times Presents Star-Studded Lineup for 29th Festival of Books This Weekend

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

Over 550 Writers and Celebrities to Grace USC Campus for Weekend Extravaganza The Los Angeles Times has a stellar lineup...

Girls Learn Self Defense at Empowerment Summer Camp for Girls

April 17, 2024

April 17, 2024

This summer, girls are invited to explore practical self defense training at SHIELD Women’s Self Defense’s 2024 Empowerment Summer Camp...