By Roger Ball
The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority is changing some of the programs it uses to serve residents.
AFMA Fire Corps volunteers will no longer install smoke or carbon monoxide alarms or change their batteries at homes and businesses. As the Fire Corps volunteers got older, AFMA officials said they were increasingly becoming concerned about safety and liability issues.
However, residents may call AFMA for a free home inspection that will include safety features for their home. Engine companies will
Engine companies will respond to any sounding alarm and have batteries on hand to change out non- working batteries at no cost.
If an engine company determines a home is without a working detector, the crew members will install a 10-year battery only smoke detector.
“We are committed to not allowing any home be without a working smoke detector,” said Eric Kriwer, AFMA deputy chief and fire marshal.
However, homeowners who purchase new smoke detectors must hire their own handyman or other contractor for the installation.
Another major change is the way AFMA handles child safety seat installations.
Mr. Kriwer said staffing of certified personnel is a logistical problem.
“What started as an eight-hour weekend class to install car seats now goes to 40 hours, plus continued education.”
He added it was difficult to take firefighters out of regular service so long for training, and then again when they installed seats.
To still provide the installation service AFMA has setup a schedule of days and times residents can bring their own car seats to a station to have them installed and receive instruction about their operations.
In Sun City West, residents can have the seats installed at the AFMA installation building, 18818 N. Spanish Garden Drive, 8 a.m. – noon, Thursday, Aug. 29; 8 a.m. – noon, Monday, Sep. 16; 12 – 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22; 8 a.m. – noon, Thursday, Nov. 21; 12 – 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9.
North County Fire & Medical District residents may also go to Fire Station 106, 20303 W. Patton Rd, 9 – 11 a.m., Tuesday, Oct. 22; and 8 – 11 a.m. Monday, Dec. 9
For those who do not wish to purchase their own child safety seat, AFMA keeps a list of companies that will rent them. Some will even meet parties at the airport and install the seats in rental cars. Residents can call 623-544-5400 to get information on these rental companies.
The lock box program will continue as it has.
Volunteers install a special lock box outside the front door of a residence which contains keys to the door. Only first responders have keys to the box which allows them to enter a property without breaking a door or window when it is suspected or known a resident is inside and in distress.
Fire Corps volunteers will continue to stay very busy, Mr. Kriwer said.
Volunteers will continue to install lock boxes, be involved in community outreach presentations, CPR and CCC instruction, mail courier and administrative support.
“We want our volunteers to have a sense of belonging to the Authority and enjoy the time they spend serving the community,” Mr. Kriwer said.