There have been a lot of changes for Sun Lakes in fire suppression and emergency medical care in the past two and a half years as the fire district merged into the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority.
Among those changes has been the development and expansion of the volunteers associated with the authority. For many years and still responding was “CAP,” the Community Assistance Program. This group responds with fire and medical crews on calls and assists and comforts community members in crisis.
But as part of the nationally-recognized and award-winning volunteer Fire Corps, AFMA has expanded the Fire Corps role into other areas of the community with programs that encompass the entire spectrum of community education and assistance.
“We realized that in a community like Sun Lakes with a specific demographic, we needed to be more proactive as far as explaining the things available as far as how AFMA can assist the community,” said Kim Campbell, AFMA Emergency Manager.
Fire Corps volunteers now teach the usage of CCR (Cardio Cerebral Resuscitation) and the AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) in monthly, free trainings at the fire station on the first Friday of the month. This training is coordinated by volunteer Betty Earp, a retired nurse.
Fire safety is now taught with an emphasis on fire extinguishers, the different types available, and how to properly use them in case of a fire. This effort is spearheaded by Joe Sarro, a former firefighter.
A brand-new program started last month is the home safety team which, upon invitation, will do an assessment walk-through of your home and make recommendations based upon their findings. This group is headed up by Colleen Mitchell.
Three Fire Corps members (Carl Schell, Roger Fell, and Brian Curry) went “back to school” and qualified as Arizona State Fire Inspectors and now assist AFMA Fire Marshals on commercial inspections, with Schell going further and qualifying as a Fire Inspector 2.
Curry has operated as AFMA’s volunteer Public Information Officer under the guidance of Deputy Chief and PIO Eric Kriwer. “The efforts of all the Sun Lakes volunteers have been great. They really get the word out into the community,” Kriwer remarked.
As they have always done, Fire Corps members man the booths at all the community open houses and events, such as this month’s Art at the Lakes. They have dispersed the medical information cards that make the paramedics’ job so much easier and are the last step to putting your front door lockbox into service. Fire Corps members helped get information out on AFMA’s ambulance membership program.
And they are always looking for new volunteers. If you think that you’d like to serve in the Fire Corps as either a Community Assistance Program member or in one of these other programs (or both), contact them via email at [email protected] If you’re interested in any of the other Fire Corps programs, contact us at 623-544-5400.