Tucson Fire Department began a new program to help alleviate the emergency call load in its busiest part of town.

The new Rescue 8 response truck is a pickup truck staffed by an EMT and a paramedic, said Rob Rodriguez, TFD deputy chief of operations.

"They handle the less acute emergency medical calls, though they can and do respond to the higher-acuity calls, such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, overdoses and so forth."

Rescue 8 is housed at the TFD's station eight, located near Prince Road and Oracle Road.

“The response model is a bit complicated, but basically we send Rescue 8 if they're closer than other advanced life support units, known as paramedic ambulances,” Rodriguez said. “For those calls requiring ALS skills, the rescue truck is not sent in lieu of the medic ambulance but in addition to it. The underlying response concept is to send the closest appropriate unit for the emergency at hand.”

On average the Rescue 8 truck responds to ten calls a day.