TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The three largest fire agencies in southern Arizona made history Thursday.
The Tucson Fire Department, Golder Ranch Fire District and Northwest Fire District announced an automatic aid agreement set to go into effect some time next year.
This means, when someone calls 911 to report a fire or a medical emergency, the closest organization will respond, regardless of jurisdiction.
“I started my career in this region in 1981 and I always dreamed of this kind of collaboration coming together,” said Golder Ranch Fire District Chief Randy Karrer.
Karrer said an agreement like this has been talked about for nearly 30 years, but politics always got in the way — until now.
“The ‘rivalry’ so to speak is sort of a thing of the past,” said Tucson Fire Department Chief Chuck Ryan.
When seconds count, crews want to offer the quickest response possible. That can only happen if all three organizations work together.
“It’s going to help save more lives and protect more properties,” said Fire Chief Brad Bradley with the Northwest Fire District.
Karrer, Ryan and Northwest Fire District Chief Norman K. Bradley don’t expect the agreement to impact their bottom line.
“We are going to maintain our own budgets,” Karrer said. “We are making the public number one and we are putting them first.”
Property owners shouldn’t expect the agreement to save them a lot of money. Normally, a move like this might increase a fire district’s rating and in turn lower property taxes, but in this case, two of the three districts already have a high rating.