1/2/2010 6:00:00 AM
First-responders the unsung heroes in our communities

BUTCH MERIWETHER, Courtesy

BUTCH MERIWETHER, Courtesy
Golden Valley Fire District firefighters swing into action to extinguish a mobile home fire that was determined to be caused by arson. There are more that 375 full-time and part-time employees, paid on call and volunteers in the various fire departments and fire districts in and around Kingman.

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Butch Meriwether
Special to the Miner

KINGMAN - There are numerous fire departments and fire districts located in Mohave County surrounding the Kingman area and also in Southwestern Utah. Their physical compositions and geographic locations may differ, but their mission is the same - to provide fire protection and emergency medical service in their areas of responsibility.

Many of these men and women who serve as firefighters, emergency medical technicians and paramedics risk their lives on a daily basis providing a valuable service to residents. Some of these dedicated individuals are paid employees of the various city fire departments and fire districts. Others are volunteers; the only payment they receive is the satisfaction of knowing they were able to help someone in need.

There are more than 375 full-time and part-time employees, paid on-call people and volunteers in the various fire departments and fire districts in the Kingman area including in Hildale, Utah, and Colorado City.

Life as a firefighter, EMT and paramedic isn't a part-time life; it is a life-long career. It is estimated that a firefighter will spend one-fourth of his or her life in a fire station. The various fire departments and fire districts surrounding the Kingman area average a total of more than 15,600 calls each year. The national average of responses by fire departments is 80 percent rescue calls and 20 percent actual fires, hazard material or motor vehicle accidents.

Kingman Fire Department

The
City of Kingman Fire Department has four fire stations and is headed by Chief Chuck Osterman. His department's area of responsibility encompasses approximately 21 square miles, much of which is built-up areas, and all of his 58 firefighters, EMTs, fire prevention personnel and paramedics are paid employees. However, his department does have a few volunteer support personnel. The department also has hydrant maintenance personnel, secretarial staff and two assistant fire chiefs.

The department normally has 14 to 16 personnel on duty at any given period of time. Three to four firefighters stay at each of the fire stations every day, two of them paramedics. They work three days on (with a day off between each work day) and four days off.

Osterman's department answers approximately 8,500 calls each year, the largest amount for any of the fire departments in the area.

Hildale/Colorado City Fire Departments

The Hildale and Colorado City fire departments are unique compared to most other fire departments in Northern Arizona and Southwestern Utah. This community, split down the middle by the Utah/Arizona state line, has three fire stations. Hildale has one fire station on its side of the state line, while Colorado City, located in Arizona, has two.

Both have fire chiefs who share the last name of Barlow; Joseph Barlow heads up Hildale, Jake Barlow runs the Colorado City fire district. Both fire departments have a total of five full-time employees and one part-time employee, while the remainder of 100 firefighters, EMTs and paramedics are volunteers.

What is unique about the two fire stations is that none of the firefighters, EMTs or paramedics are required to sleep at the fire stations.

They are able to eat and sleep at their own homes, on call when emergencies arise. When needed, the training coordinator is contacted by the dispatcher, then he calls the volunteers into action.

The Hildale and Colorado City fire departments have a large area of responsibility compared to most fire departments. Hildale has a responsibility of 150 square miles, while Colorado City is responsible for 225 square miles in addition to 220 square miles for emergency medical service and mutual aid for a total of about 595 square miles.

Even though the fire departments cover a large area, they answer just three calls a week on average.

Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire Department

Northern Arizona Consolidated Fire Department is a fire district with six fire stations and is headed by Chief Pat Moore. His department's area of responsibility encompasses about 65 square miles, and there are 47 full-time firefighters and a few support staff. Moore's department also has 20 part-time firefighters, nine of which are certified paramedics that are paid on-call personnel who fill shifts when other personnel are on vacation or are away participating in training.

Of the 47 firefighters, 15 are also certified as paramedics, while seven are currently participating in paramedic training and will be taking their final paramedic testing this month.

The department normally has 15 firefighters on duty at the six stations. The firefighters work 48 hours on and then have 96 hours off.

Moore's department answers approximately 3,500 calls each year.

Golden Valley Fire District

The Golden Valley Fire District has three fire stations and is headed up by Fire Chief Thomas O'Donohue. His district's area of responsibility encompasses about 400 square miles, and there are 22 full-time firefighters and three support staff.

O'Donohue's district also has 8 paid on-call firefighters, EMTs and paramedics in addition to five volunteer firefighters.

The department normally has a total of eight firefighters on duty at the three stations and includes one certified paramedic at each of the three stations. The firefighters work 48 hours on and then have 96 hourss off. O'Donohue's district answers approximately 2,000 calls each year.

Pinion Pines Fire Department

The Pinion Pines Fire Department is a fire district with two fire stations and is headed up by Chief Joe Jackson.

His department's area of responsibility encompasses about 20 square miles, and there are 12 paid employees and support staff.

The department normally has four to five firefighters on at the fire stations during the day and one to two firefighters on duty during the nighttime hours.

The firefighters work one day on and two days off.

Jackson's department answers approximately 400 calls each year.

Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire Department

The Lake Mohave Ranchos Fire Department, headquartered in Dolan Springs, is a fire district with two fire stations and is headed up by Chief Dave Estenson.

His department's area of responsibility encompasses about 144 square miles, and there are 31 full-time firefighters and four support staff. The department also has two paid on-call medics who are not firefighters.

The department normally has a total of six firefighters and three medics on at the fire stations at any given time. The firefighters work two days on and then are off for four days.

Estenson's department answers approximately 1,000 calls each year.

Pine Lake Fire Department

The Pine Lake Fire Department is a fire district with two fire stations and is headed by Chief Tony Beacom. His department's area of responsibility encompasses about 50 square miles and is staffed by four paid employees, while the remaining staff of 20 are paid on-call firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and support staff.

None of the department's personnel stay at the fire stations during the night-time hours. They're on call via radio or telephone.

Beacom's department answers approximately 100 calls each year.

Meadview Fire Department

The Meadview Fire Department is a fire district with one fire station and is headed up by Chief Steve Berg.

His department's area of responsibility encompasses about 75 square miles and is staffed by 13 paid employees and support staff, in addition to 10 volunteer firefighters.

The department normally has two firefighters, who are also EMTs, on duty at the fire stations at any given time.

The firefighters normally work two days on duty and then are off for four days. Berg's department answers approximately 150 calls a year.

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