Community Alternative Response Emergency Services (CARES)

An Alternative Emergency Response to Mental Health Crisis and Behavioral Emergencies

What is CARES?

CARES is a 2-person response team comprised of Saint Paul Fire Department Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), which soon will include and embedded Social Worker in partnership with Ramsey County.  The CARES Team responds to non-violent mental health crisis and behavioral emergencies within the City of Saint Paul.  

In addition to responding to 911 calls for service, the CARES team engages community members at times when they are not in crisis, building relationships.  Our teams interact with some of our most vulnerable residents at local resource centers, shelters, and in their spaces. Our team follows up with patients after crisis in an effort to connect them with services they may need.

What are the CARES goals?

  • Reduce frequent or repetitive use of emergency services by connecting patients with additional supportive services
  • Provide a response capability reducing the need for emergent Police, Fire, and EMS response
  • Appropriate care recommendations for our most vulnerable population, diverting arrest or transport to emergency rooms and providing transport to more appropriate care

CARES Program Coordinator

CARES is headquartered at Fire Station 1 at 645 Randolph Ave.  The program's Coordinator is Mr. Dwayne Gibbs. Dwayne started with the Saint Paul Fire Department in 1994, where he worked as a Firefighter Paramedic until 2004.  Mr. Gibbs left the Fire Department to pursue a different calling to serve.  He worked with the Harvest Youth Center with at-risk youth, he also worked as a program director for Prison Fellowship at Lino Lakes Correctional Facility.  Mr. Gibbs rejoined the Saint Paul Fire Department in February of 2022 to serve as the CARES Coordinator. 

CARES responds to calls citywide on weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

CARES began responding to behavioral health and calls involving the unsheltered in Spring of 2022. At this time, the program is still in its early developmental stages. We hope to eventually make CARES available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Last Edited: September 25, 2023