The City of San Rafael has partnered with Petaluma People Services Center to start a mobile mental health crisis response team. This team, referred to as "SAFE" (Specialized Assistance For Everyone), went into service on March 29th, 2023. The SAFE team is modeled after the CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets) program in Eugene and Springfield, OR. The SAFE Team consists of an Emergency Medical Technician and a Crisis Intervention Specialist. To access their services, the community can call 415-458-SAFE (7233).
Services provided by SAFE include responding to people who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, in need of treatment for mental illness, or who need shelter by providing counseling and transportation to the appropriately staffed location. The team will also address minor medical complaints that do not require emergency room care. Left untreated, some of these medical conditions can become severe. The SAFE Team will also be supported by a SAFE Team Navigator, who will manage referrals to the various social and mental health programs in Marin County. The SAFE Team will operate twelve hours per day (8 a.m. – 8 p.m.), seven days a week, 365 days per year.
How Does It Work?
Calls for service involving mental health, addiction, and homelessness account for a significant number of calls our police department and fire department respond to annually. Through the SAFE program, these calls are responded to by a team with the tools, resources, and knowledge to address the unique needs of community members more effectively. In partnering with the Petaluma People Services Center (PPSC), the City is able to leverage existing behavioral health programs and ensure a seamless referral to an established continuum of care.
The SAFE Team provides 3 main services to the community:
- Emergency response for issues relating to mental health, addiction, and homelessness
- Non-emergency response for people in need
- Proactive community outreach
SAFE Team members are accompanied by police officers to calls for service only if a person is armed, believed to be in danger of causing harm to themselves or others, there is a threat of violence or if emergency medical care is needed. The SAFE Team does not provide emergency medical care or perform involuntary mental health detention.
The team works proactively to address low level issues and provides preventative outreach to help ensure individuals don't end up needing a higher level of care. This program is intended to benefit all of public safety by keeping police officers, firefighters, and paramedics available for appropriate emergencies.
How Can I Reach the SAFE Team?
Individuals may access SAFE services as follows:
- Call 415-458-SAFE (7233) - an emergency dispatcher will answer and determine if your situation requires the SAFE Team, first responders such as police, fire, or paramedics, or a combination of both.
- 911 calls that dispatchers determine are appropriate for SAFE team response will be forwarded to the SAFE team.
- To contact PPSC or to find out more about the program, SAFE@petalumapeople.org