From the ‘in case you wondered too’ file: New policy/code for some SFD responses

(WSB file photo, SFD battalion-chief vehicle)

If you watch the Seattle Fire Department‘s real-time 911 log – which logs the addresses and call classifications for all SFD responses – you might have noticed a new call designation on Sunday’s log: A few medical calls were designated BC Medic Response or BC Aid Response. We noticed it and also received a few inquiries – one of the calls was on Alki Avenue – so we asked SFD about it today. Spokesperson Kristin Tinsley says BC is short for “battalion chief” (regional supervisor) and this is indeed a new type of code: “With this policy change, a battalion chief is now added to most responses where the patient is experiencing a mental-health crisis, to help our firefighters with decision-making for an appropriate treatment plan.”

4 Replies to "From the 'in case you wondered too' file: New policy/code for some SFD responses"

  • GeneseeFivePoints January 10, 2022 (8:33 pm)

    Common sense deployment. Nice work SFD.

  • Marie January 10, 2022 (9:15 pm)

    I never knew about this – I don’t follow their calls. But it is good to know that more is being done to address the growing mental health issues here. Thanks for keeping us informed.

  • Mel January 11, 2022 (5:57 am)

    While this is good, sounds like more of what police depts are doing. It isn’t for the sake of the person in crisis (as some above seem to think) but rather a cover your a** for the firefighters. It puts the responsibility and decision making on the supervisor. Police depts now do the same and have supervisors at most calls like this. 

    • ltfd January 11, 2022 (12:42 pm)

      Agreed. It is a CYA addition to the response; the Battalion Chief has no special training, and much less medical training than most of the EMT & Medic Firefighters. This came about because of the HB 1310 limits on use of force, and the unwillingness of law enforcement to detain persons committing no crime. Adding the command layer (Battalion Chief) to these responses just deepens the bureaucracy. 

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