Editor, Casa Grande Dispatch:
Thursday’s story, “College swaps fire, emergency medical services,” is very incomplete and highly misleading. The students, staff and visitors at the college have been placed at risk since Dec. 31, as there are currently no fire and medical emergency services. Response must come from Casa Grande, a 15- to 20-minute wait, rather than Regional Fire and Rescue Department, a two-minute response. Notwithstanding the “intergovernmental agreement” comment, there are no IGAs in place between the college and any municipality; a fire would risk students and staff. Your reporter should have asked to see this “phantom” IGA. IGAs take months to negotiate.
The Casa Grande Fire Department has no legal obligation to respond outside the city limits without a very expensive IGA. There is no free lunch. Fire equipment and firefighters are extremely costly to maintain, ask any fire chief. This IGA will easily cost the college $100K or more annually.
As chief of campus police for seven years, I found RFRD’S fast response and professionalism reassuring. The numerous medical calls they respond to annually means their paramedics are highly trained and experienced. Campus police have very limited first responder training and are not trained as paramedics.
Where is the Governing Board, as our representatives, on this safety issue affecting students, staff and visitors? Were they and the students/staff told the college has been without fire coverage for three weeks and medical response is 20 minutes away, and the ambulance company will present patients with a bill? Many questions exist and the college must provide answers, now.