Regional Health Council moves forward with possible solutions to non-emergency 911 calls in the Chattanooga area

Cathy Scott, left, and April Wilson, second from right, demonstrate how easy an inflatable HoverJack can move a large person with relative ease. Michael Falls, back center, representing the Southeast Regional Healthcare Coalition, informs members of the Regional Health Council how the equipment is used. Chattanooga Fire Training Chief William Andrews, right, watches as Falls explains the process.

Local leaders from public health, social service and emergency response sectors continued their quest Wednesday for solutions to a soaring number of area "non-emergency" 911 calls.

Since ambulances respond only to medical calls, firefighters are left to handle 911 calls from citizens who need help getting up or performing other basic tasks, and the need continues to grow as the population ages.

Work on the issue took place during the Regional Health Council's Senior Health and Aging Committee meeting.

In the coming academic year, the Chattanooga Fire Department will house a master of social work intern from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to perform case management and better train firefighters in their evolving role. The move is a result of representatives from the fire department working with the health council and its multidisciplinary aging committee, which welcomes other community members interested in helping to connect needy callers to appropriate services.