There has been some concern recently that the Surprise Fire-Medical Department is reducing service at Fire Station 305. This is simply not true.
Surprise City Council has made Public Safety one of our top priorities – this means making sure that Fire-Medical and Police have the support they need to keep our community safe. The Surprise Fire-Medical Department has been given the authority to manage our fire and medical needs as they see fit.
Fire Chief Abbott is in charge of the Surprise Fire-Medical Department. He is responsible for implementing policies and procedures related to fire and medical that keep our community safe. This includes determining what equipment and personnel are staffed at each station.
Fire Chief Abbott determined that the city would be better served with a Low Acuity unit that runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The engine or pumper at Fire Station 305 had only been in service 40 hours a week.
Here is what Fire Chief Abbott sent me describing the change at station 305:
“On September 9, 2019, Low Acuity 305 (LA305) was placed into service. LA305 is staffed with a captain and firefighter and one of the two will also be a paramedic. LA305 has a complete complement of Advanced Life Support (ALS) or paramedic level equipment, but is only dispatched on basic life support (BLS) incidents that an Emergency Medical Technician can manage. By responding to BLS incidents, the deployment of LA305 will keep the ladder and the other engine companies available to respond to ALS calls.”
I am a member of Surprise City Council and the role of Council is to set policies and direction. We generally do not interfere with day to day operations. We leave day to day operations to the professionals like our City Manager Mike Frazier and Fire Chief Tom Abbott.
I believe Fire Chief Abbott and his team are doing a great job leading the Surprise Fire-Medical Department and I am 100% behind his decision making ability. His experience and planning skills are a tremendous asset to the city and this has been demonstrated by his many accomplishments over the past 5 years. In 2018, his hard work resulted in our Surprise Fire-Medical Department receiving a Class 1 Rating from the Insurance Services Office. This is the best rating available and it is based on how well a department responds to emergencies. Chief Abbott and his team also created the Ambulance Program we have now. This filled a critical need in the community by increasing the reliability and speed of getting ambulances on scene and people in crisis moved to a lifesaving facility.
Chief Abbott is leading the Surprise Fire-Medical Department towards accreditation through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. This accreditation is very difficult and it takes strong leadership and a strong team to pursue and accomplish accreditation. They are currently in the assessment phase and are projecting a 2020 accreditation.
Here are some of the other great things Chief Abbott and his team have done for our community over the past 5 years:
- Placed a utility truck in service that provides resources such as air, light and minor rehab on significant incidents. This services Surprise, neighboring communities, and the Surprise Police Department.
- Implemented a “Treat and Refer” program and a “Behavior Health” program to help triage patient needs in the field and to provide the proper level of care.
- Received an Innovation Award associated with the Treat and Refer program.
- Pursued and received nearly $2m in grant funding.
- Received state recognition as an Advanced Life Support Training Center.
- Received three consecutive Gold Awards from the American Heart Association for treatment and care of myocardial infraction.
- The SFMD Crisis Response volunteer program continues to provide invaluable assistance volunteering 13,000 hours last year.