I recently learned about the Firehouse Clinic project during a talk about social outcomes to architecture by John Peterson of Public Architecture.
The story is that there is a critical need for primary care services in Alameda County near San Francisco. Too many of the low income residents rely on emergency department visits and services for care given the lack of other available options. The initial concept was to put clinics near public schools, but hours and security restraints for both stopped that. The team realized they could leverage the trust that firefighters have with their communities as they typically are perceived more favorably than other public servants (i.e. law enforcement and the conflicts that tends to arise with them). A firefighter’s mission generally is to do good in the community without much of an extra agenda. Stations are plentiful and dispersed throughout the county, even in neighborhoods that don’t have other services. And fire personal are typically trained EMT’s who are responding to medical issues as a big portion of their job anyway. They’re an ideal partner.
All images (c) WRNS Studio, available here.