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Generous vehicle donation boosts community outreach and support teams

By County of San Bernardino
Community Writer
03/21/2024 at 07:30 AM

The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District (SBCoFD) is proud to announce the acceptance of a transit vehicle valued at approximately $36,870, a substantial donation from Arrowhead Credit Union through the ArrowHeart Foundation. This generous contribution will significantly enhance the operations of the Community Outreach and Support Team (COAST) program.

This vehicle will be instrumental in transporting individuals, including the unhoused or those experiencing a mental crisis, along with their belongings, to crisis centers or appropriate facilities. The donation aligns with the Fire District’s commitment to operate in a fiscally responsible manner and to prioritize the safety, health and social service needs of San Bernardino County residents.

“We are thankful to Arrowhead Credit Union and the ArrowHeart Foundation for their generous support of our COAST program. This donation is not just a vehicle; it’s an important resource that will greatly benefit the residents of San Bernardino County,” said Fire Chief Dan Munsey. “With this addition to our fleet, our COAST program can extend its reach and provide timely, compassionate care to those in mental health crises. This partnership exemplifies community collaboration at its best and underscores our shared commitment to enhancing public service and safety.”

The COAST program is a collaborative effort between County Fire, local law enforcement partners and the San Bernardino County Department of Behavioral Health. The program offers a new level of care for community members experiencing mental health crises. Since its inception, COAST has made significant impacts, including the successful COAST1 program in the City of Fontana, the COAST2 program in the City of San Bernardino, and the COAST3 program serving the unincorporated communities in the East Valley Division.

Each County Fire COAST team member is a handler of a CARE team therapy dog. These dogs can help ease the hesitancy of a person in crisis towards law enforcement and emergency services. Therapy dogs help deescalate crises, allowing behavioral health personnel to address individual needs effectively. Patients are then moved to mental health facilities for ongoing care by the county’s behavioral health team. This ongoing support aims to reduce future crises and the need for law enforcement or fire/EMS responses. It provides resources for coping with future mental health crises and helps keep patients out of jail and emergency rooms.

The San Bernardino County Fire Protection District reminds residents that help is always available for those suffering from or encountering someone in a mental health crisis. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is accessible by dialing 9-8-8, and in immediate danger situations, dial 911.

The impact of the event was evident, concluding with two full roll-off bins and another at a quarter capacity. Additionally, the successful collection of a roll-off bin filled with waste tires highlighted the community’s commitment to environmental responsibility. The Land Use Services Code Enforcement Division appreciates the strong support of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, San Bernardino County Solid Waste Management Division, CalRecycle waste tire program, Urban Conservation Corps e-waste program, and community volunteers that make these events possible.