Andres Mercado

Andres Mercado
Firefighter/Paramedic
(overseeing the Mobile Integrated Health Office)
City of Santa Fe, NM

Favorite Music

Bob Marley, esp. Redemption Song).

Challenge

In 2014, Santa Fe’s 911 system received 14,000 calls, 80% of which weren’t for fires. Yet rescue crews in fire trucks responded to large numbers of calls for falls by seniors, drug overdoses, and behavioral health issues. In addition, the city found that 16% of all calls were from 0.3% of the population.

Solution

Santa Fe phased in its Mobile Integrated Health Office to retrain a team of first responders. Using 911 data to target its services, it now performs home safety assessments to reduce the risk of falls, follows up on opiate overdoses to provide prevention training as well as naloxone kits, and proactively works with individuals who repeatedly call 911 to act as “health detectives” to figure out other approaches the department can take to help them, thereby keeping fire trucks and ambulances available for more suitable emergencies.

Lessons Learned

The status quo is expensive and dangerous, so not changing behavior isn’t an option. Answers lie in using data to better understand community risk, enhance integration of community resources, and develop a model for the “first responder of the future.”

Andres’ Job

Andres, a firefighter paramedic by training (18 years on the job), oversees three full-time colleagues as well as part-time staff implementing the pilot program and its expansion.

Andres’ Background

University of New Mexico bachelor’s in philosophy, and masters in classics from St. John’s College Santa Fe. Has worked across New Mexico on helicopter and medevac teams.

Startling Fact

Has four cage fights under his belt and a 4-0 record, but also loves gardening.

Connect with Andres!

ajmercado@ci.santa-fe.nm.us

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