Tag Archives: Scottsdale Fire department

Committed and Passionate About Public Service

Bayne_Ron CropBy Commander Ron Bayne
Scottsdale Police Department

Class 29 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s Core Program. The views expressed here represent those of class members and not those of Scottsdale Leadership.

“You should feel fortunate to work with such a great group of professionals. I’m really impressed with all of them!” That was a comment from one of my classmates near the end of our Safe Communities Day after observing and participating in demonstrations from the Scottsdale Police and Scottsdale Fire Departments.

Having worked in law enforcement my entire adult life and being raised by a career firefighter, I’ve always been passionate about the responsibilities of our public safety professionals. Sadly, public perception of these professions is largely shaped by Hollywood or media portrayal of the seemingly all-too familiar negative actions on the part of some police officers.

IMG_1099This is not what I get to see every day. What I see are dedicated professionals in both the Scottsdale Fire and Police Departments who are committed to and passionate about public service. They take their responsibilities of protecting the public seriously and care about their communities and sisters and brothers with whom they serve.

In an effort to provide a snapshot of the realities of public safety professions, Class 29 was exposed to a variety of roles filled by police officers and firefighters.  One of my classmates asked Police Chief Alan Rodbell, “What keeps you up at night?” Chief Rodbell’s response was simply, “nothing”, noting that he is very fortunate to work for such a professional police force. Chief Rodbell would be the first person to admit that this is not something that any of us take for granted. In our department the culture of accountability is set through a variety of measures including; recruitment, training, supervision, policy, discipline, and public input.  The sentiment of pride and accountability was equally apparent through Scottsdale Fire Chief Tom Shannon’s presentation. We are a proud police and fire organization and this was conveyed throughout the day.

IMG_5770Coordinated by Day Chair Lieutenant Eric Williams on the police side, Class 29 interacted with members of the K9 Unit, SWAT Team, Crisis Negotiators Team, and the Firearms Training Unit. I can attest that the mood of the class during lunch was definitely one of excitement from the morning experience with the police and in anticipation of what would follow with the fire department. Day Chair Deputy Chief Jim Ford set up interactive demonstrations which provided students with firsthand experiences with hose and water evolutions, Chest Compression Resuscitation techniques, search & rescue through a smoke-filled building, a ladder/tower truck demonstration, and fire extinguisher practice.

IMG_1057Admittedly, my first thought when seeing this day on the Core Program schedule was that this would seem like another day at work for me. I must say, however, that this was an extremely fun and informative day for both my classmates and me. When I think back to the comment of my classmate, I feel fortunate to work with such a great group of professionals. I’m really impressed with all of them!

To get an even better sense of the day, check out this short video!


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Safe by Design

mike-screenBy Mike Binder, Class 27
Director of Marketing, Pitooey.com

The Class 27 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community. Scottsdale Leadership is an Arizona Leadership Program.

It’s easy to think of Scottsdale as a place that has it all. Beautiful golf courses, incredible shopping, unparalleled resorts, more restaurants than you could possibly imagine. Living here amongst the beauty and fine weather is a blessing for many. So it’s easy to overlook the things that aren’t right in front of you every day. For example, your safety. You won’t find a community with finer police and fire departments in the country than in Scottsdale. For Safe Communities Day, Scottsdale Leadership Class XXVII met at the Scottsdale Police and Fire Joint Training Facility, a $2.1 million, 13 acre facility located just across the Scottsdale border in neighboring Tempe.

This state-of-the-art facility is the only one of its kind in United States, and features computerized natural gas props, a smoke maze room, indoor firing ranges, a firing line jogging track, SWAT team training areas, and even a 1 mile pursuit driver training track. What’s more impressive than the facility however is the program behind it.

Most cities police and fire departments work completely independently and Scottsdale saw this as a problem. In February of 2011, then city manager David Richert merged the Scottsdale Police and Fire Departments into a single Public Safety Department. This new structure saves more than $6 million each year by merging many of the two department’s functions. The merger has created a model for Police and Fire Agencies across the globe.

Our day began with Lieutenant Eric Williams of the Scottsdale Police Department and Deputy Chief Jim Ford of the Scottsdale Fire Department outlining how the day would play out. We then met our generous day sponsor, Chief Operating Officer John Wilson of PMT ambulance. To give us an overview of this revolutionary departmental structure, Chief of Police Alan Rodbell took us through the thinking that created this new system.

Chief Rodbell then broke us into groups to see three different situations we would be interacting with, situations that Scottsdale Police face on a regular basis.

Session 1: Use of Force Standards and Options with the Scottsdale SWAT Team. SWAT Officers took us through some of the scenarios that they face, and how they determine the level of their response. Their priorities are always the safety of the public, their fellow officers, and of the suspect, in that order. We were then taken into a live fire exercise to show the kinds of situations SWAT Officers face, and how quickly they must react.

Session 2: K-9. We met Officer Coffee and his K-9 partner, “Havoc”.  He explained to us that Havoc is a Belgian Malinois, and all Scottsdale Police Dogs are of this breed. They are born and trained in Europe, then come to their departments for final training at age 3. Havoc’s training includes obedience, agility, tracking, evidence searches, open area and building searches, as well as narcotics or explosives detection.


Session 3: Firearms Training Simulator. We were then taken into the FATS training room, where video scenarios were projected on a wall and we held realistic firearms that shot lasers into the computerized system.  WE took turns assessing situations that officer’s face, often with life threatening results.

As we broke for lunch, we all felt a new-found respect for the burden police officers face every day keeping us safe.

After lunch Assistant Chief Ryan Freeburg and Deputy
Chief Jim Ford discussed the history and makeup of the Scottsdale Fire Department, as well as its involvement with a Valley Wide Regional Dispatch Center, which ensures that emergencies are prioritized by proximity to available resources, not by city borders. Tempe Fire might be first on scene in Scottsdale if they are the closest; this regional agreement plan is yet another model for the rest of the country.

Another feather in Scottsdale’s cap is that it is one of the safest cities in the country because of legislation introduced in 1982 mandating that all buildings, both residential and industrial, had to have sprinkler systems integrated into the build. The widespread use of sprinklers have cut the risk of dying in a fire by 82%, and since 1982, Scottsdale has one of the lowest incidences of fire death of any country in the world!

Chief Jim Ford shared with us a video about the Station Nightclub fire that took the lives of 100 attendees in less than 6 minutes. Chief Ford described all the issues that were at play and how they impacted Scottsdale’s entertainment district. We then saw a video of a nightclub fire in downtown Scottsdale. While it mirrored the beginnings of the tragic Station Nightclub fire, it resulted in zero deaths in Scottsdale.

We then went outside to see a sprinkler system demonstration. A trailer with home furnishings on both sides separated by a wall in the middle was identical except the left side had no sprinkler system, while the right side did. The left side was set on fire and the fire spread quickly, completely engulfing that side in less than two minutes. They then set the room with a sprinkler system installed on fire. The fire was detected by the sprinkler system in about 1 minute, which engaged and put out the fire while also sounding an alarm. Chances are people living in that home were going to walk away safely. In fact, fires in homes in Scottsdale with sprinkler systems typically incur about $2,166 in damages, while unsprinklered homes incur $45,019 in damages. Chief Ford stated, “You can always dry things out, but you can’t unburn them.”

We then went outside with the fire department through a rotation of different fire department experiences.

Experience 1: Fire Extinguisher Practice featured a gas propelled fire and hands-on training using effectively a fire extinguisher. Turns out, most people use extinguishers improperly! Always use a sweeping motion at the base of the flames.

IMG_2174Experience 2: Ladder/Tower Truck. Teams went to the Ladder Truck where we put on helmets and gloves and went up in the extendable basket above a building to see how firefighters are placed on a roof to open a hole that allows gasses and smoke to vent, preventing built up gases within from igniting, a dangerous situation called “flashover”.

Experience 3: Search & Rescue in Smoke Filled Building. In this scenario, we donned full firefighter gear, including an obscured gas mask to simulate zero visibility inside a burning building. We worked as a team on hands and knees to find our way through and out of the building.IMG_2061

Experience 4: CCR Training. CPR is old news! A more effective and reliable method is called CCR, cardio-cerebral resuscitation, and it’s a big change. If you see someone who suddenly collapses and their heart has stopped, lock your hands together one on top of the other, put the heel of the lower hand in the center of the victim’s chest, and push hard and fast, 100 times per minute. When first responders use the new technique, they save three times more lives than they did with standard life-support techniques.

We returned back to the main building and Police Lieutenant Eric Williams and Deputy Fire Chief Jim Ford recapped the day. I think it’s safe to say that we all had a new-found respect for what these fine people do for us each and every day. And while we might not interact with them on a regular basis, it is so good to know that they will be there should we ever need them here in Scottsdale, one of America’s safest cities.

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February 28, 2013 · 9:58 am

Scottsdale Public Safety

Kiem Ho, Class 26
Director of Business Development & Innovation, Laundry Care, Henkel Consumer Goods, Inc.

The Class 26 Blog: This is a blog series about the experience and impact of Scottsdale Leadership’s core program. The program informs, inspires and empowers leaders to champion and strengthen the interests of the community.

There is no one marketing tactic that delivers 100% loyalty! In my 15 years of Brand Marketing, I’ve come to understand that no matter how good or even perfect my product may be, there will always be those that don’t care, that don’t like it or even hate it.  100% loyalty may be impossible but what is ultimately important is whether those that care for your brand outweigh those that detract.

During Public Safety Day, I could not help but take away the need for increased Public Safety brand loyalty.  Elements of this need can be found in the language of the day’s objectives:

  • Identify the major divisions of public safety in Scottsdale
  • Identify three critical issues (public needs and resources) facing each major division
  • Participate in training exercises to build empathy for public safety providers
  • Identify personal role in, and make personal commitment to, develop safe communities
  • Engage in an effective conversation regarding implications of the public safety trends for leadership in Scottsdale

Chief of Police Alan Rodbell, Class 19 and Fire Chief Garret Olson shared how both of their departments have been able to maintain and even increase the quality of their services in spite of the declining economy and consequent budgets cuts.  Specifically, technology and award winning strategic planning has enabled the police department to efficiently allocate officers to calls.

Similarly, the fire department has been able to increase staffing and add more stations over the past 3 years resulting in an overall response time of 4min 17s while at the same time reducing costs by 16.9%.   These figures are astounding when one considers that the fire department is the 1st respondent for all out of hospital paramedic care.

In addition to awareness, we had a small taste of the dangers our men and women in uniform potentially face every day when we participated in the Firearms Training Simulator where split decisions determine life or death.  We also practiced fire extinguishing and search and rescue, decked out in full gear including heavy oxygen tanks.  Given the adrenaline induced trembling that several of us experienced, it is safe to say that we all gained a deeper appreciation for those that work so hard to protect us.

Despite the increased understanding we took away from Public Safety day, I realized that the majority of the work that our Public Safety departments accomplish goes and even is meant to go unnoticed.  It is in the quietness of anonymity that the men and women of the Scottsdale Police and Fire Department toil on our behalf.   American Jewish Author Cynthia Ozick penned, “When something does not insist on being noticed, when we aren’t grabbed by the collar or struck on the skull by a presence or an event, we take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

As a community, we enjoy a very high level of care from our Police and Fire Departments.  Despite this high level of quality service, there will always be those that nay say and complain oftentimes without all the facts.  Nevertheless, brand loyalty is ultimately determined about caring.  Chief Garret Olson put it best stating the mission of the Fire Department, “We Care For You”.

Do we as informed community leaders also have an obligation to return that “Care” for those that serve us so well? If we fail to demonstrate and even advocate loyalty for the care that we receive, will we risk  eventually losing the care we take for granted?

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Are you ready to save my life?

By Rachel Brockway, Class 23
Scottsdale Leadership Marketing and Resource Development Manager

As leaders in our community, we continually attend events and activities where many people are in attendance. Would you know how to respond if one of these people goes into cardiac arrest? Could you save them? New CRP methods have a much higher success rate and are hands only which means it is  not mouth to mouth. The Scottsdale Fire department, celebrating its fifth anniversary on July 1st will be offering 13 free hands only CPR presentations delivering rapid chest compressions.

When I attended Public Safety day as part of Scottsdale Leadership the main thing I remember is not to worry about hurting a person when you do CPR; because you can’t hurt someone who is dead! A person in cardiac arrest is already clinically dead. ..but you can change that!

Advance registration for these classes will be required, as space is limited. To view the dates and times for the CPR classes and to sign up, visit www.scottsdaleaz.gov/fire/HandsOnlyCPR or call (480) 312-8000.

Remember you can save a life!

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