In an effort to help their Community Healthcare Paramedic Program teams better connect patients with services, local fire personnel gathered Wednesday at the Quality Hotel Americana to learn more about the resources available in the local area.

Representatives from 35 agencies that offer services in Santa Cruz County ranging from mental health counseling to nutritional education were set up at tables around a conference room. Attendees from the Nogales, Rio Rico, Tubac and Sonoita-Elgin fire departments were given a card with a patient-need scenario and told to seek out the providers who could help their clients.

“It’s a scavenger hunt,” said event organizer Suzanne David of the Southeast Arizona Area Health Education Center (SEAHEC). She handed out scenarios that included someone who needs help finding hospice care, another person with questions about breastfeeding, and a Patagonia resident who needed assistance bathing and dressing.

Community Healthcare Paramedic Programs are relatively new preventative care efforts designed to improve public health, reduce 911 calls and visits to the emergency room by chronically ill people. Wednesday’s resource fair was the second of its kind in the county.

“The reason behind it is the community paramedics need resources so that they can go to their clients and give them resources,” David said, adding: “The other reason I wanted to do this is so that the agencies know what each other are doing, so if they call me, I can say, ‘So-and-so can help you with that.’”

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