The Division of Intervention Services continues to be the core of Avondale Fire & Medical's service delivery. Intervention Services primarily consists of 911 emergency response which is facilitated through a participation in a valley wide automatic aid agreement. This agreement brings together 26 different municipal fire departments and fire districts within Maricopa County to provide a seamless and efficient sharing of fire, medical, and rescue resources. Emergency units are dispatched by the Phoenix Fire Department Regional Dispatch Center using a Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system. This system utilizes satellites and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to locate apparatus in real time. Apparatus are dispatched based on location to incident, regardless of the municipality. It is quite common to see fire trucks from neighboring cities responding to emergency calls.
AFMD has adopted the Phoenix Fire Department's Operation's Manual - Volume 2 as its standard operating procedures for Intervention Services. By adopting these standard operating procedures, continuity in operational logistics, communication, tactics, and strategies are maintained throughout the automatic aid system.
Fire represent a low occurrence but high consequence event for most departments, including ours. While actual fires represent a small portion of total calls received by AFMD, they continue to represent the greatest threat to the safety of both the citizens and our firefighters. AFMD units may be dispatched to any fire including trash, vehicle, or vegetation fires to large structural fires involving hazardous materials. To give our crews the greatest advantage in mitigating fires, AFMD uses the latest technological advances in suppressing fires. Thermal Imaging cameras, which see light waves in the infrared spectrum, are used to see through smoke and darkness for locating possible victims or hidden fires. All front-line engines are capable of using firefighting foam which have been proven to more efficiently extinguish fires by absorbing more heat than an equal volume of water. This reduces the amount of water needed to extinguish a fire resulting in quicker fire control and a potential reduction in property loss.
Emergency Medical Services:
Over 80% of the calls for service are for emergency medical service. These calls may include heart attacks, vehicle accidents, difficulty breathing, strokes, seizures, and many other types of injuries or illnesses. This percentage is consistent with nationwide averages and is expected to continue in the future. The department provides advanced life support (paramedic) first response on every engine company. American Medical Response (AMR) provides patient transport through a Certificate of Need. All shift personnel must be certified emergency medical technicians and over 2/3 are certified paramedics. A minimum of two paramedics are assigned to each engine or ladder company on each shift. The latest technologies and equipment are available to AFMD personnel in order to provide the most definitive medical care possible in the field setting. This includes anything from Phillips 12 lead heart monitors to over 34 medications that can be administered.
Technical Rescue Team:
Squad 173 operates as one of seven technical rescue teams (TRT) in the automatic aid system. Personnel certified as technical rescue technicians must complete a rigorous 4-week training program conducted by the Phoenix Fire Department. Technicians are qualified in the areas of high angle, confined space, trench, swift water, and structural collapse. With more people enjoying the hiking, biking, and horse riding trails that surround Avondale and adjacent communities, AFMD TRT element has been responding to an increased amount of mountain and trail rescues. Staffing on E173/SQ173 includes a minimum of three TRT trained personnel on duty, every shift.
Wildland fires range in size from a field or brush fire on the side of the road up to a complex forest fires that devastate communities and deplete local public safety resources. Fighting fire "off-road" where fuels, weather and topography impact fire behavior is very different than structural fire fighting. Each of these situations requires specialized training and equipment. Beginning in 2002, AFMD assembled a specialized team of firefighters who received intense training and annual recertification through the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management as Wildland Firefighters. Additionally, formal mutual aid compacts allow firefighters to respond and support other communities during major emergencies. AFMD Wildland resources respond when needed to assist wherever needed within Arizona and interstate when required. During the Rodeo-Chediski fire in 2002, the Avondale Wildland Team provided EMS and fire suppression in support of the Pinetop Lakeside community while their own resources were fighting the Rodeo-Chediski fire. Since the team's inception, they have responded to Wildland fires across the country and wherever resources are needed. For information on current large emergency incidents visit the InciWeb.
Along with the boots-on-the-ground firefighters, different levels of team leadership and incident management team support are also required. These national standard certifications include specific annual refresher training and qualification. During any major events and incidents in Avondale, each of these personnel rely on their training and expertise to make Avondale a safer community. Visit the Avondale All Hazards Incident Management Team page for more information.