SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Santa Fe has a new program underway to help residents with health problems before they need to call an ambulance.
The Fire Department says its so-called "Community Protection Initiative" results from collaboration between department administrators, the firefighters' union and health care providers.
According to the department, it has found that many medical-related 911 calls are either preventable or could be handled through a means other than an ambulance ride to an emergency room.
Fire Chief Erik Litzenberg says the new program has firefighters making home visits to check on people who used the 911 system four or more times in 2013.
Many of those people are either elderly or have chronic conditions.