LAFD Launches New ‘Sober Unit’
We have often said that our city has some of the best firefighters in the world. Not only have they saved our own Santa Clarita community multiple times from deadly blazes, they also make a conscious effort to help support the recovery movement. This week the LAFD took things one step further, with the launch of a new Sober Unit that is designed to transport publicly intoxicated citizens to hospitals or sobriety centers.
This exciting new program is beneficial on many levels. For one thing, it will make a major difference for Angelenos battling addiction. Equally important, it will lessen the strain on 911 operators and emergency medical technicians (whose efforts are often needed in other areas). The Sober Unit also has full the support of Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was on hand for the initial kickoff.
Today we’re proud to announce the #innovative #LAFD SOBER Unit Pilot Program. With @MayorOfLA, @lapublichealth, and Exodus Recovery Inc., this resource is able to ID patients who are serially intoxicated in public and may better benefit from transport to a Sobering Center. pic.twitter.com/DORSPFFUzF
— LAFD Talk (@LAFDtalk) January 5, 2018
As Mayor Garcetti said during the launch press conference, “Our new LAFD Sober Unit is the first of its kind in America — an innovative new team that helps Angelenos struggling with chronic substance abuse get into treatment and break the cycle of addiction.”
The new Los Angeles Sober Unit will be based at Fire Station 4 on Temple Street near Downtown’s Skid Row district. It is reported that people from this region are responsible for the lion’s share of intoxicated 911 calls (approximately 2,000 each year). The majority are homeless and battling alcoholism. Clearly, they stand to benefit greatly from this new program.
Fire Station 4’s Sober Unit will be comprised of a special ambulance, an EMT, a nurse practitioner and a recovery case worker. When dispatched, the team will assess each intoxicated caller and determine whether their condition merits a trip to the emergency room or a local sobering center. Either way, their needs will be addressed.
As Mayor Garcetti told the excited crowd during the kickoff, programs like this can do great things for the city. We are certainly hoping that there are more Sober Units to come!
“I’m very excited about this new Sober Unit,” Garcetti concluded. “It will save time, it will save money, but most importantly, it will save lives.”