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Tucson Fire: Call 911 for emergencies, not for general coronavirus questions

People calling 911 for answers about COVID-19 concerns but not pressing health emergencies are "taxing an already stressed public safety system," authorities said, reminding the public that 211 and other help lines are available.

The Tucson Fire Department is responding to an increasing number of calls reporting possible symptoms of COVID-19, but when personnel are dispatched, they arrive to find callers who have mild symptoms and are simply looking for answers to their questions, a TFD spokesman said.

"Protective equipment like masks, gloves and gowns are in short supply across the country, and need to be saved for calls and patients who truly need them," said TFD's Michael Colaianni.

From TFD:

Call 9-1-1 if you are:

  • Having difficulty breathing or are choking
  • Having an allergic reaction
  • Having symptoms of a heart attack or stroke
  • Are experiencing feelings of confusion, dizziness, or are disoriented
  • Having difficulty speaking, walking, or seeing
  • Have sudden severe pain
  • Involved in an auto accident or have traumatic injuries
  • Have fire or law enforcement needs

Do NOT call 9-1-1 if you

  • Want information on COVID-19 or any other medical issue
  • Need a ride to the doctors office or need medications refilled
  • Want to get tested for COVID-19 or any other medical issue
  • Have mild symptoms
  • Need help with a chronic or long-term health issue; contact your healthcare provider by phone or video conference if possible

The Pima County Health Department has set up two hotlines to answer questions from the public. For general information about COVID-19, including news, testing, prevention, and cleaning guidelines, call 211 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. For questions about symptoms, call 1-844-542-8201, anytime.

"We need our first responders healthy and equipped with everything they need to keep you and the rest of our community safe," Colaianni said.

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Tucson Fire Department