WARSAW – Mayor Joe Thallemer is calling on the Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory to look into establishing a mental health wellness program within the department.
Thallemer prefaced his announcement by noting that the role of firefighters has broadened over the years to include a variety of services, namely emergency medical services.
He said he has asked Fire Chief Mike Wilson to look into a program being used in other communities that provide wellness visits to residents.
The aim is “to try and assist and hopefully let our folks know in our community that there is somebody there that cares at times when they need that,” Thallemer said.
“It’s a whole mental health initiative that just utilizes the trained foot soldiers, if you will, in the department that we’ve got,” he said.
No other details were announced. Thallemer said officials will look at other similar programs in Indiana.
“Hopefully, by June 1, we’ll have something in place,” he said.
Thallemer said a similar program has been started in Fishers and that he’s heard they are seeing good results.
Wilson said the mental health aspect represents another way the fire department can aid the community. The department is providing more public education as well as the fire territory’s support for fire extinguisher training with local companies.
“We’re big on trying to take care of our communities,” Wilson said.
Wilson said Chris Fancil, who was introduced Tuesday as the fire territory’s EMS Coordinator, will have a key role in the program.
“Chris is going to be a big part of that,” Wilson said. “Customer service and taking care of people is what he loves to do.”