PIMA CO., Ariz. — Corona de Tucson Fire Chief Simon Davis says, fire districts have been left out of the federal funding conversation during this pandemic. For instance, he said fire districts were left out of the C.A.R.E.S. Act.
“Unfortunately for whatever reason by districts and kind of left off that equation. And so, while the state and these other entities got the funding, fire districts didn't receive any. While at the same time, we respond and we actually protect close to one half million folks in Arizona. So we've got the costs associated with that,” said Davis.
Needing PPE, responding to fires, COVID health emergencies and staffing shortages because of COVID, are all situations Davis said that are compounded by the pandemic.
“I wouldn't say it's perfect storm, but it's pretty close to it. We had the Big Horn fire, we actually had a crew up there on that. So there's just a lot of stuff going on. We have no problem responding to these emergencies and stuff, it's ensuring that we have the funding capable to keep the response levels up,” said Davis.
He said with no money funneling through to the rural fire districts, the residents of that district suffer.
“Those funding shortfalls what that Will obviously translate into is is going to be less. Personnel on duty. Less folks available to respond. You know, we will still go out of our way to make sure we respond to any emergency, but is that responding before personnel three or two personnel. That's the question out there,” said Davis.
Moving forward, Davis is looking to see if fire districts can be a part of a funding stream during this pandemic. Calling on local and state legislators to make a difference.
“We predominantly protect rural Arizona and rural Arizona does you know is seeing the effects of COVID, the same as a cities, if not worse because we have limited healthcare resources out there. So, so that's kind of what's behind this is just to raise awareness and to make sure we're included,” said Davis.