This past Friday (6/21/14), there was a medical assist call in Mammoth. Mammoth Fire Department responded quickly to the scene and their dispatch advised them that there was an extended delay of an ambulance from Tucson, as the ambulance in San Manuel had just gone out on another call. The Mammoth FD crew on scene saw the need for a faster Paramedic response so called and asked us to assist. We responded immediately and the added intervention we provided as Paramedics, working with Mammoth FD, made a positive change in the patient’s condition.
Administrations and Chief Officers come and go … Fire District Board members come and go as well. Nevertheless, the firefighters remain the one constant. When someone calls for help, it should never be about turf, ego, or pride. It should always be about what is in the best interest of the patient, family or residents that are calling for help.
The credit here does not go to Pinal Rural Fire Rescue for what it did on the call. The credit goes to the Mammoth FD crew that saw a need beyond their capabilities and requested assistance. However, we have guarded optimism that this will continue. One call does not make a policy but we are cautiously encouraged that this will set the groundwork to establish mutual working aid arrangements for the future.
Southwest Ambulance routinely sends fire departments in advance of their crews. They don’t send some and not others. It is a responsible policy they have in place to get faster care to the patients their Paramedics are responding to. It should be the same with fire departments in the region, just like it is everywhere else in the state.
For 2½ years we have reached out and offered to help the local departments, and been summarily rejected by the various Mammoth FD administrations, along with the administrations of the local fire districts adjacent to us.
Oracle FD was the first to begin a dialogue, and Chief Larry Southard and I continue to talk and see how we can benefit each other’s departments. One thing PRFR and OFD agreed upon was that calls on AZ 77 near our common border gets responses by both agencies to work more effectively during accidents or other highway incidents.
Fire departments calling for Paramedic assistance, or fire assistance, from the closest agency first is also a responsible policy for protecting their residents and visitors. It is a policy practiced nation-wide. We hope that this call will enable the other fire departments in the area to also see the value of shared resources and improved patient outcomes rather than an attitude of “it’s my area.”
/s/ Bud Paine, Fire Chief
Pinal Rural Fire & Rescue