Truck services

Worry-Free Fire Services: Go for a Cadillac or Stick to Your Old Faithfuls | New

The City of Carefree will host five audiences open days at various locations over the next few weeks to review the city’s options for fire and emergency services and hear from residents telling us what they want to do.

“These workshops will educate attendees about the current level of service residents are receiving and how it may evolve toward automatic assistance,” said Gary Neiss, City Administrator of Carefree. “Join us to find out what this means, what it costs and how the city will pay for fire and rescue services.”

The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, October 19 at 5 p.m. at Christ Anglican Church. With the exception of the final meeting — scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 17 via Zoom — all open house events are in-person and do not require any form of registration. However, those planning to attend are encouraged to view a video presentation outlining the options and costs of fire and emergency services so that everyone has a preliminary basis of understanding and can prepare for the meeting for a discussion. further. Neiss said the video can be found in the city’s digital bulletin, on Youtube or by visiting the link displayed on a sign at the Post Office.

“What the city is trying to do is put factual information in front of people, ask them to look at it, ask their questions, provide their feedback, and then the board won’t make a decision,” he said. said Mayor Les Peterson at a recent Council meeting. “The council will register the decision of the inhabitants, what you want to do with the fire.”

Currently, the town of Carefree contracts with Rural Metro for fire and emergency services, as it has done for 20 years, according to Neiss. In fact, Rural Metro has run Carefree since the 1960s, when residents paid an annual subscription of around $750 for services. When the city entered into a framework contract with Rural Metro in the early 2000s, it also built its own fire station and purchased its own truck and other equipment. Rural Metro provided the staff.

This model worked well, but a number of outside forces caused city officials to consider other options. Neiss, along with Peterson and others have repeatedly stated that seeking other options had nothing to do with dissatisfaction with rural subway services.

One of these outside forces was Cave Creek’s decision to break its contract with Rural Metro and establish its own fire department. Cave Creek contracted with the Daisy Mountain Fire District for services, similar to Carefree’s contract with Rural Metro. Cave Creek purchased a fire station, truck, equipment and other essentials, and Daisy Mountain provided training and personnel.

None of this has any direct impact on Carefree, but the big change was that Cave Creek was then accepted into the regional automatic aid system. It was part of the self-help system, of which Carefree is a part.

“With mutual aid, when a service needs help, the firefighters call a neighboring service. And it’s up to the responding department to decide whether or not it will come to the aid of the calling district,” Peter Burns, a member of Carefree’s public safety advisory committee, told a city council meeting.

“But as part of the automatic aid, each emergency vehicle is equipped with a tracker, so the dispatch knows where each piece of equipment is in the valley. When a call comes in, they will send the closest suitable asset to that call, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries. »

Automatic Aid is the most effective emergency response system, but to ensure it continues to operate effectively, there is a long and strict list of qualifications that fire departments must meet to join. . Carefree does not currently meet these qualifications and would require a significant financial investment.

The discussion of mutual aid versus automatic aid was deepened when the Scottsdale Fire Department terminated its mutual aid contract with Rural Metro in Carefree in January. In fact, according to Rural Metro chief Tim Soule, Phoenix, Mesa, Avondale and Scottsdale have all canceled their mutual aid agreements. However, Soule said that doesn’t mean a cry for help will be ignored.

“Since these agreements were canceled, we sometimes needed mutual assistance, we asked for it and we received it,” he explained. “The contract was basically about getting paid, it wasn’t necessarily about providing a self-help service.”

Of course, it is undisputed that self-help provides the same level of service as automatic help. The automatic help system is an immediate and transparent process.

“The auto help system is a great system and provides a huge amount of resources. It’s a Cadillac, and if you can afford Cadillacs, then you definitely want to have it,” Soule said. “I just want you to know that Rural Metro will definitely support whatever direction the citizens of Carefree decide to take. There is no wrong option. Staying with Rural Metro has pros and cons. Switching to an automatic fire aid entity has advantages and disadvantages.

These options, along with their pros and cons, are exactly what will be discussed at the open house. It will ultimately be up to the residents to decide whether they want to pay for a Cadillac or not – whether being part of the auto help is worth paying more or whether Rural Metro offers the best value.

Hassle-free fire and emergency services open house schedule:

5:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 19: Christ Anglican Church, 3550 N. Cave Creek Road

5:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 26: Holland Community Center, 34250 N. 60th Street

5:00 p.m. Thursday, November 3: Christ the Lord Lutheran Church, 9205 E. Cave Creek Road

5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10: Carefree City Council Chamber, 33 E. Street

5 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 17: Zoom (registration required)