In just a few short years, the efforts of the Springfield Township and Sylvania Township fire departments have reduced the number of repeat emergency calls for falls by approximately 80%.
Through the combined efforts of Sylvania Fire Chief Mike Ramm and Springfield Fire Chief Barry Cousino, Springfield Firefighter Jodi Livecchi and Sylvania Firefighter Shawn Wittkop, the Hero (Health, Education, Resources & Outreac) Program has been able to identify those persons repeatedly seeking paramedic help and the reasons for the repeat calls. With that information the needs are addressed and the number of falls are reduced.
Over utilization of paramedic services due to falls occurs for a variety of reasons. Lack of grab bars and steps are two big reasons. The Hero program installs grab bars and associates with other social service programs to build ramps and/or stairs with shorter rizers.
Sometimes falls happen due to medication issues. The Heros will look into these issues and partner with others to find answers such as reduced costs for prescriptions or working with the family physician to prescribe less costly, but still viable medications.
Possibly a person doesn’t understand why he or she keeps falling. In these cases, social service referrals are made.
This pilot program is proving to be helpful to the community. All township firefighters are aware of the program and make referrals when they see a need. Run on a shoestring, this program could use some help. Money to purchase supplies to build ramps and purchase grab bars would help. Volunteer carpenters to help build and/or install accessories. Volunteers of any kind may be helpful. If you have interest in volunteering, contact Shawn Wittkop at:
Phone: 419-843-2188 Extension 1750 and 1748
Project HERO phone: 567-408-6787