Specialized training to be provided for ARUs

Improvements based on nearly two years of incident data

Brian Schaeffer, Assistant Fire Chief, 509.625.7002

Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 1:52 p.m.

The Spokane Fire Department will provide specialized training to responders who currently staff the pilot Alternative Response Units and update dispatch procedures to better prepare units for calls they are likely to be sent on.

Nearly two years of call data identified opportunities to improve the program, which dispatches a smaller vehicle staffed by a single firefighter/EMT or firefighter/paramedic to non-emergency calls. Training and updates are expected to be completed by the first week of June. ARUs will not be dispatched to calls during the training period to allow for the changes and training to occur.

“The program has produced extremely positive results, and we have used the data to constantly analyze, change and improve it to deliver the best results to our citizens,” said Brian Schaeffer, assistant fire chief.

An independent third-party evaluation will be commissioned as part of the ongoing evaluation of the pilot program to determine its long-term feasibility.

The pilot ARU program, the result of a Fire Task Team recommendation, was launched in September 2013 as a way to introduce greater flexibility and reliability in meeting the increasing demand for medical services. The pilot program was extended a year ago through the end of 2016 based on extremely positive feedback from the community, medical outcomes and a number of successful performance metrics. Medical incidents account for 87 percent of all department responses when automobile accidents with a medical component are included.

The pilot ARUs have responded to 3,860 calls since the program began. Sending the smaller vehicle leaves the larger trucks in the station and available to respond to more critical, emergency incidents.