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Growing population informs Rincon Valley Fire's budget and hiring plans

District leaders want to pace their growth to not over-extend
Posted: 10:25 AM, Apr 18, 2022
Updated: 2022-04-18 15:26:20-04
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VAIL, Ariz. -- (KGUN) — Every kind of professional organization, public or private, has taken stock of how it recruits the best talent, keeps it and then finds stability.

When it comes to the work happening every day for crews at the Rincon Valley Fire District (RVFD), there's also an expectation the communities it serves will see significant growth in the next two years.

"Currently, we're getting about 15 new permits per week, so that's going to equate to a significant amount of growth," RVFD Assistant Chief James Tucker shared. "We anticipate that the district's population is going to increase approximately 2000 people in the next two years."

Tucker has seen that development in the 17 years he's worked for the district. He said the district has set up what he called trigger points, based off certain statistics, to add resources once there's a certain number. Tucker said the RVFD is also looking at data from the location of most of their incoming calls for help.

"There's more incidents on the north side of the railroad tracks," Chief Tucker revealed. "So, whereas before we would have two ambulances on this side at this fire station, we're actually going to shift one of those ambulances over to the other side of the railroad tracks to meet that demand."

Tucker says the RVFD is making the most of its budget, as well, replacing an ambulance and fire engine. While job applications are down, he explains, the district is retaining its current staff. Still, Tucker adds, they want to take advantage of both new digital media and partnerships with local school districts.

"We've recently found out that Andrada High School is going to be doing an EMT program in the near future." Tucker announced. "We would really like to get a partnership with them to form some sort of an alliance to kind of have a spot for some of those kids to go and start in the fire service."

And if or when those programs or academies start up, he claims the district wants to pace how it adds staff so it doesn't over-extend and lose efficiency answering to calls.

José Zozaya is an anchor and reporter for KGUN 9. Before arriving in southern Arizona, José worked in Omaha, Nebraska where he covered issues ranging from local, state and federal elections, to toxic chemical spills, and community programs impacting immigrant families. Share your story ideas and important issues with José by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.