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Automatic Aid system helps firefighters give quality care

Tucson Fire Department heads out on a call
Posted at 6:44 AM, Nov 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-05 09:44:30-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Firefighters in Southern Arizona are using a system called Automatic Aid. This system helps rescuers arrive quickly to rescues, allowing the closest fire fighter to respond.

In the past, firefighters follow boundary lines but Auto Aid blurs those lines so that the closest fire fighter can respond.

“Let's say there is a medical emergency or fire emergency on the border of one fire district or department and a fire truck from a neighboring department is closer, that truck is going to solve that problem," Golder Ranch Fire Captain Adam Jarrold said.

Northwest Fire, Golder Ranch Fire and Tucson Fire now collaborate on rescues. The program started back in 2016 between Golder Ranch and Northwest Fire. Now, the agreement includes Northwest Fire.

Northwest Fire Division Chief Josh Zent said every rescue, whether it is a fire or a lost hiker, is resource demanding so they rely on their partners to help provide quality care.

"We all respond to help each agency in their communities and our community to make sure that we are getting the right resources to these events as soon as we possibly can," Zent said.

The fire stations are all on the same dispatch frequency and the same compilation of fire fighters and equipment.

"What we know is that we are getting trained personnel there quicker than without the system," Zent said. "And now we have capacity for maybe another incident that may develop."

Recently, a hiker was rescued in the Catalina Mountains using Auto Aid. The system brought specially trained fire fighters together to collaborate on the rescue.

"That specific incident was on a hiking trail that required the patient to be extracted using special gear and special training," Zent said. And to do that safely, you have to provide the right resources with the right peoples that way it’s best the patient and best for people operating on scene."