April 22, 2005
When Scottsdale fire trucks roll to an emergency, they will be equipped with the latest technology.
"This is a computer mounted on the fire engine that is linked up to a computer at the dispatch center," Scottsdale Fire Chief William McDonald said during a presentation Thursday about the city’s ongoing efforts to create a municipal fire department.
McDonald said onboard computers will allow a dispatch operator to know the location of a truck in transit, its distance from an emergency and the location of the call. The new fire department will become operational July 1.
Scottsdale will also join what is called the automatic aid system, a cooperative computer-assisted program among Valley fire departments that shares services near city boundaries.
"So that even if a call is in the city of Scottsdale — if there’s a company that’s closer in another city — that company will go," he said. "And that’s facilitated by a single dispatcher that has access to all those resources."
McDonald spoke about the systems during a formal introduction to the community Thursday morning after Mayor Mary Manross’ monthly breakfast at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. About 120 people attended.
The city has a staffing goal of 257 for the department —193 firefighters from Rural/ Metro have been given conditional employment offers and are in training.
Rural/Metro Fire Department has provided fire protection for Scottsdale for more than 50 years, but the company decided not to renew its contract with the city, which ends June 30.
"We didn’t just bring them on because they had been here before," McDonald said of the Rural/Metro firefighters.