PIMA – In rural areas, residents often have to wear several hats. The all-volunteer Pima Fire Department is no different.
Pima Fire Chief Adam Hoopes announced at the Pima Town Council’s Monday night meeting that his department will begin offering an Emergency Medical Technician training class to its firefighters in conjunction with Eastern Arizona College (EAC). Those who finish the class will earn college credit.
In addition to volunteering their time learning how to fight fires and then utilizing that knowledge to assist those in need, several firefighters will add emergency medical services knowledge to their tool bag as well.
Pima operates its own rural EMS truck manned by EMT’s who have made 220 calls of service in the town and fire district this year to date.
“The opportunity to have more EMTs trained within our town and our district just makes this a much safer community and district to live in,” Hoopes said.
With its agreement with the college, only Pima firefighters are currently allowed to enroll for the class, but there will be no charge. Hoopes said each member can take up to six credit hours per semester for free. The quid pro quo is set that way because Pima Fire provides extrication training for the college’s EMT class.
“My jaw dropped when they said we could have an EMT class at Pima,” Hoopes said. “I was an EMT 15 years ago, and I’m excited to be an EMT again.”
Pima Fire Department’s EMS Captain, Jeffrey R. Vaughn, and its EMS Training Captain, Brandon Little, are responsible for the training push, according to Hoopes. Vaughn is also the prehospital coordinator for Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center as well as a registered nurse there and an adjunct faculty member of EAC. Little also works full time as a paramedic for Freeport McMoRan. Hoopes also added that EAC biology instructor Aaron Burk, who is also a member of the Pima Fire Department, has been integral for bringing the college and fire department together on the same page.
Hoopes said while the class is a trial run, if it succeeds, he hopes to have additional classes in the future. He added that the class is a flexible class tailored to volunteer firefighters.
While the EMT class is for Pima firefighters only, the Pima Fire Department also offers continuing education credits for all paramedics and EMTs in both Graham and Greenlee counties.
Those interested can go to the Pima Fire Department on the fourth Tuesday of every month for guaranteed continuing education credits through EAC, by way of Vaughn and Little.
“They’ve made that happen,” Hoopes said.