Tacoma Fire Department launches TFD’s Safe Station Program

The Tacoma Fire Department launched the TFD’s Safe Station Program at Fire Station 1 (901 Fawcett Ave.) on August 28, 2019, the first Safe Station program in Washington State.

The program offers 24-hour seven day a week help to individuals experiencing opioid use disorder, and provides an additional way to access and receive immediate opioid use disorder treatment and other needed resources.

“This is a monumental day for our community,” Deputy Mayor Conor McCarthy said. “Today we join 39 other cities across the country in deploying a program to address opioid use disorder and taking action to end the heartbreak, suffering and damage opioids cause to individuals, families and the community as a whole. We know we must be ready to help individuals who ask for help as rapidly as possible and connect them with services, and the Safe Station program is designed to do that.”

The Safe Station program is located at Fire Station 1 (901 Fawcett Avenue) and will be available 24-hours a day, seven days a week for residents of Tacoma, Fife, and Fircrest who are seeking help on their journey to healing and recovery.

“First responders are on the frontlines in addressing the opioid epidemic,” said Tacoma Fire Chief Tory Green. “We see the impacts opioid use disorder is having on people and their families, and we are committed to finding innovative ways to offer aid.”

There are no costs to the individual for using the Safe Station services that include medical assessment, transportation to a medical facility, as needed, addiction treatment assessment for outpatient services, first medication for opioid use disorder, as needed and connection to long-term treatment services.

Tacoma Fire’s program is modeled after a similar fire department-based program in Manchester, New Hampshire.

The program provides:

• Medical assessment

• Transportation to a medical facility, as needed

• Opioid use disorder treatment assessment for outpatient services

• First medication dosage for opioid use disorder, as needed

• Connection to long-term treatment services

The program is modeled after a similar fire department-based program in Manchester, New Hampshire.

TFD’s Safe Stations are part of the Fire Department’s Opioid Response Plan, which includes four programs:

• Narcan Distribution Program

• Community Trainings on the signs and symptoms of an overdose

• TFD’s Safe Station Program

• TFD CARES and Mobile Response Unit

• For more information about the Opioid Response Plan, visit cityoftacoma.org/opioid

Opioid use disorder is a growing concern:

Opioids are highly addictive, and can be easily misused or abused, causing serious harm, including opiate poisoning and death. Opiate poisoning was five times higher in 2016 than 1999 and is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, surpassing fatal car accidents.

According to Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

In 2015, more than 15,000 people died in the United States from opiate poisoning from prescription opioids.

In 2016 alone, Tacoma Fire Department (TFD) administered 153 doses of naloxone – the life-saving reversal drug – to people who had opiate poisoning. This means nearly every other day in 2016, TFD saved someone’s life from a fatal opiate poisoning.

– City of Tacoma