The heartbreaking scene at the hospital was almost too much to bear.
A young mother who had devoted her life to around-the-clock care for her special-needs baby had to say goodbye to her 3-year-old following a fatal heart episode.
The mother, barely in her 20s, would have been all alone in the ER had it not been for the non-profit Trauma Intervention Program Inc. (TIP), which sends specially trained volunteers to incidents to provide emotional aid and practical support to the traumatized.
The volunteer spent about three hours with the woman, whose child was tended to by Anaheim Fire & Rescue personnel before being transferred to a hospital.
“Her life was caring for her baby,” said Kristi Hofstetter Batiste, crisis team manager for the Orange County chapter of TIP, which serves more than 250 cities nationally. “Our volunteer sat and stayed with her and helped her talked to the coroner.”
Recognizing the value of TIP’s work with Anaheim Fire & Rescue, the Anaheim City Council on Aug. 12 approved a five-year agreement with the TIP, which signed an initial two-year contract with AFR two years ago.
“Although Anaheim Fire & Rescue is one of our newest partners in Orange County, the entire department has enthusiastically embraced the TIP program,” said Wayne Fortin, founder and CEO of TIP.
“We have received tremendous support from the fire chief and his staff, and firefighters on the front lines call for TIP volunteers regularly.
“I am especially impressed with how Anaheim Fire & Rescue personnel think of utilizing TIP in circumstances that could easily be overlooked. For example, they request TIP volunteers to assist witnesses to tragedy, to assist at crime scenes and to help the homeless when they have experienced a tragedy.
“We are delighted with the partnership we have forged with AFR in a relatively short period of time.”
In fiscal year 2013-14, TIP assisted 871 Anaheim residents or visitors, provided 1,210 intervention services (including follow-up and mental health services), and had an average response time of 20 minutes, Hofstetter Batiste said. Volunteers are on call 24/7.
The cost to the city to engage the services of TIP volunteers is $35,300 per year — which works out to about 10 to 12 cents per Anaheim resident, said Rusty Coffelt, Deputy Chief of Support Services for AFR.
Coffelt believes it’s money well spent.
“TIP volunteers allow us to provide service to our residents way beyond responding to 911 calls,” he said.
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