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Community Message from our Fire Chief


Below is a community message from San Tan Valley Fire Chief, Tim Soule, to all San Tan Valley residents and businesses.

San Tan Valley residents and visitors,

My name is Tim Soule and I am your Fire Chief in charge of the fire, rescue, and medical response to your homes, businesses, and roadways. Hopefully, you will never need to call 911 for emergency assistance but if you do, the men and women of the Rural Metro Fire Department stand ready and able to assist you in a caring, compassionate, and professional way. I will be communicating on a monthly basis to all of you via SanTanValley.com in order to give you information on significant events, emergency response call volume, and to answer any questions or concerns you may have that are relevant to all.

There seems to be a lack of information or misinformation about emergency response in the San Tan Valley and about the Rural Metro Fire Department. I would like to address some of that here. The Rural Metro Fire Department is a private fire company as opposed to a municipal or special district fire department. As a county resident in Arizona, there is no mechanism allowed under the state charter to pay for fire service outside of a municipality or special district. In 47 other states in the US, your taxes go to pay for emergency response regardless of where you live. Most folks who are moving into one of the most rapidly growing regions in the country believe that is still the case in Arizona. As there is no tax support, Rural Metro Fire is only able to provide service through the fees from Fire Service Memberships and fees for service for a response to homes without a membership. Contrary to popular opinion, Rural Metro Fire responds to all calls for service in the San Tan Valley without regard to who has subscribed. No one, including myself, has any idea who has subscribed or not.

The second issue I would like to address is that Rural Metro is a "for-profit" business and, as such, we are more expensive than what might be paid for fire service from a municipal or special district department. Rural Metro Fire is owned by Global Medical Response (GMR) which is a "for-profit" medical transport company. Rural Metro Fire, however, is one way GMR gives back to the community, as do many ethical companies. Rural Metro Fire is not a profit maker for GMR. Rural Metro Fire is a public safety organization dedicated to providing the best life-safety services possible to the community. Currently, only four out of every ten homes in the valley subscribe and therefore pay, for the cost of providing life safety services for all of San Tan Valley. Should more households subscribe, Rural Metro Fire would be able to provide a greater level of service, which is certainly our desire. The cost for a career department would and should be far higher as the level of service is higher and the cost is spread out over all the taxpayers in the valley. The level of service and the decision to purchase a subscription or pay for an emergency response if needed is voluntary and decided by you, the residents of the San Tan Valley. It is not mandated through a tax on everyone.

Currently, Rural Metro Fire is serving the San Tan Valley with four fire engines. We are looking for a site to develop another fire station in the San Tan Heights area and have a desire for two more in the East and North areas of the valley. However, all of the ability to develop a higher level of service is predicated on increasing the number of households purchasing subscriptions. Without a subscription, a household will be billed for service. This is a terrible part of the job and one I never experienced as a city firefighter, officer, and chief, prior to coming to Rural Metro Fire. However, it would be equally unfair to 38% of the community who pay for emergency life safety response for the whole community to not bill those who don't contribute.

I look forward to future discussions and the ability to answer more questions. In the meantime, please have a peaceful, safe, and joyous holiday. If you have any questions or concerns, you can reach me at tsoule @ gmr.net. I am also willing to take advantage of any opportunity to come to speak to your community group or HOA.

Tim Soule, Fire Chief, Rural Metro Fire, San Tan Valley
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Ste 103-262
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