Fire Prevention & Education (FAQs)
Why does a fire truck respond when I wanted an ambulance?
Because firefighters can and do get there first, and time is critical in a medical emergency. Every fire fighter is cross-trained in emergency medical services. What does that mean to you, a citizen phoning 911?
In the early days, fire stations were strategically located so the crews could quickly get to burning buildings. Obviously, time is an important aspect of firefighting, because flames can rapidly spread through a building. The ability to quickly respond to a fire provides more time to rescue people inside, and save property by suppressing the blaze in the early stages. It soon became apparent that the firefighter’s ability to “get there fast” could be used for other types of emergency response, such as heart attacks, strokes and trauma.
Time is critical for someone who has experienced a heart attack, injury, or other illness that makes them stop breathing. All efforts are made to respond quickly to medical emergency as first responders (BUT ambulance services currently range approx 30+ minutes from Gila Bend for Maricopa County emergencies AND 55+ minutes from Welton for Yuma County emergencies.) The heart and brain have a better chance of full recovery they receive oxygen in four minutes or less. After that, a person can suffer brain damage or worse. Our firefighters, many of them educated to the level of paramedic, can use life saving techniques including defibrillation and medications to help prevent death or permanent injury. These life saving techniques are much more effective if they can get to a patient within the first four minutes.
Why does the fire department bring the fire engine just for a simple inspection?
Why do firefighters break out windows and cut holes in roof during a fire?
Why am I not supposed to drive over a firehose?
What if I smell gas in my home?
Why do we see fire department crews at the store?
Do firefighters have other responsibilities other than fighting fires?
Emergency calls represents only about fifteen percent of the work of a typical fire department. The number of residential and commercial fires has steadily decreased over the years due to a variety of factors including improvements in construction, a greater public awareness of the risk factors leading to fires and a significant reduction in smoking nationwide.
Fires, however, are only some of the emergencies to which the fire department responds. Nearly eighty percent of the fire department’s emergency responses are, in fact, calls for medical aid, including illness/accidents at home and work, and injuries resulting from vehicle crashes. Other calls for emergency response involve hazardous materials releases, technical rescues, response to fire alarms and other calls for public assistance.
Firefighters also spend much of their time maintaining equipment, doing routine public safety inspections for businesses and rental housing, training for all types of emergency responses and filling out the reports and paperwork associated with these activities.