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October 24, 2023

Fire-led Deflection: Post-overdose Outreach in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

Although first responder deflection initiatives focused on responding to community opioid use have historically been started and led by law enforcement, the number of fire and emergency medical service-led deflection efforts has grown. This webinar will highlight two fire departments’ programs in Milwaukee County, Wisconsin: the City of Milwaukee Fire Department and the West Allis Fire Department.

The Milwaukee Overdose Response Initiative (MORI) responds to those individuals and their families who have experienced an overdose. This effort involves Response Teams that consist of MFD Community Paramedics and peer recovery/support coaches. The teams provide overdose victims with guided access to appropriate treatment, counseling services, and harm reduction. Follow-up visits from the MORI team ensures victims and families are supported in their chosen treatment, including long-term recovery. The primary goal of MORI is to decrease the number of repeated overdoses per victim through relationship building and guided access to available resources and treatment.

The West Allis Fire Department’s Mobile Integrated Healthcare (MIH) program, provides one-on-one care between a community paramedic and residents who have shown a high reliance on emergency medical services and individuals identified to be at risk of substance use disorder. Their main goal is to be proactive in patients’ needs, thereby lowering the cost of unneeded medical stays in the hospital, closing healthcare gaps, and helping better utilize department and community resources. This approach improves patient healthcare outcomes and assists in emergency prevention. After treating a resident for an overdose, a community paramedic and a peer support specialist will return the next day to have a conversation about health and recovery.


  • Hope Fiori, Acting Director, National Deflection Technical Assistance Center, TASC's Center for Health and Justice
  • Gregory Miller, MIH Manager, Milwaukee Fire Department
  • Jason Schaak, Assistant Chief, Division of Community Risk Reduction, West Allis Fire Department


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