The Philadelphia Fire Department has created a new emergency medical services (EMS) team dedicated to serving people with complex physical and behavioral health needs when they are in crisis.
Known as AR-3, this alternative response unit features a marked SUV staffed by a paramedic and behavioral health specialist — both trained in crisis intervention.
AR-3 is dispatched via 911 with the goal of immediately connecting individuals to appropriate resources and/or treatment programs. During its current pilot phase, the unit will operate primarily in North Philadelphia (19140) every day from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
“The next step in Philadelphia’s behavioral health crisis system transformation, AR-3 ensures trained behavioral health specialists are available to join in EMS response when the situation calls for it,” said DBHIDS Commissioner Jill Bowen, Ph.D. “We are pleased to continue our efforts to ensure our system responses are aligned with DBHIDS’s TEC vision to address Trauma, achieve Equity and engage Community, and we look forward to AR-3 in partnership with the City’s Fire Department.”