Albert Lea Fire Rescue proposes community risk reduction program

Albert Lea 911 Program

Albert Lea 911 Program

(ABC 6 News) – The Albert Lea Fire Rescue is looking at ways to reduce repeat 911 calls and help enhance the quality of life for people in the community.

Albert Lea’s Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Laskowski presented the idea of the program to the city council just a few weeks ago. He says it’s about bridging gaps between our community and the resources they need. Mostly, it’s about living a better life without constantly having to call 911.

“We have kind of an older population. We’re just trying to find different ways that we can reduce risk for them. Fire departments across the nation have been implementing community risk reduction plans and they look a little different in each community. In ours, we’re just trying to fill a void in connection to the resources available to our older population,” said Captain. Bart Berven with ALFR.

That doesn’t mean the fire rescue is stepping away. They’re connecting you to services that can help like an in-home care provider or a physical therapist.

“We’ll be that center cog is what I kind of think it as. The wheels are already there. We just have to make sure everybody is connected,” added Berven.

One potential partner to the program is the non-profit Care Resource Connection. It’s an organization made up of a network of public service, business, and healthcare professionals. They help link people to the resources they need. The fire recure says other local partners are getting involved so the program would have no cost to the city.

“Mayo is interested in connecting with us within this program. Because if someone goes to the ER twice in one day, you can’t bill for that twice. So you want to try and keep the person out of the ER if you can,” Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Laskowski said at the city council meeting on April 22nd.

So far, city council members are liking the idea.

“Very impressed that you’ve taken this initiative on behalf of the citizens of Albert Lea. I think it’s going to be so well received. Reaching out, finding ways to connect with others and collaborate. I think that’s kind of a model for how we need to start working on almost everything,” Rachel Christensen, the Ward 1 Councilor for Albert Lea City Council said after the presentation.

The fire rescue says the next step is talking with stakeholders with community meetings expected sometime this fall. Ultimately, the goal is to have this up and running in the new year.