Know who to call in a non-emergency situation

THE THR3E(Recurring)
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 4:12 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - The Bryan Fire Department receives more than 9,000 medical calls a year.

While many of those calls are for situations that require an ambulance, a decent portion of those calls are from residents that need help beyond what the department can handle.

That’s where Bryan firefighter Paramedic Chris Lamb comes in.

Through Community Paramedicine, residents who often call 9-1-1 for assistance are connected with Lamb, who can provide them with the medical treatment, education, and resources they need.

“We live in great community and we have so many resources here in the Brazos Valley. The problem is that a lot of people who live here don’t know about them, so there’s a gap,” Lamb said. “There’s a gap between the person who needs the resource and the resource.”

Lamb says these resources look different for every caller. “Maybe they just need home health. Maybe somebody can’t get food, or they don’t have transportation, or they don’t have a doctor. Those are things we’re trying to bring to the patient,” he explained.

Started in December of 2021, the Community Paramedic Program has enrolled 180 frequent 9-1-1 callers into the program in just one year.

Lamb says the program currently has an 87% success rate. “In the past, we’d always send an ambulance. We’d always send a firetruck. Those firetrucks and ambulances need to be available for house fires and things like that. The program is about being proactive instead of reactive. We’re preventing the 9-1-1 call before it even happens,” he said.

Lamb says it’s important for citizens to know that medically-trained 9-1-1 dispatchers will filter calls to help decide which team is sent out. “You might see that an ambulance doesn’t pull up to your house, but a community paramedic does, based on what type of call it is,” he said.

In the next several months, Lamb’s team is set to expand and he will have additional crew members to assist him on these calls.

He says the long-term goal is to have a community paramedic working with dispatch to help filter calls.

“The patients just don’t know who to call. Having someone who is able to come in and advocate for that patient and get them what they need, stops the emergency. It stops the fall. It stops Emergency Room trips and helps with ER surge as well,” Lamb said.

To learn more about the Community Paramedic Program, visit the City of Bryan website here.

Additionally, to request non-emergency medical assistance, fill out this form.