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Expand/Contract Questions and Answers

How are fire calls dispatched?
Tempe participates in an automatic aid system with 26 other fire departments in the Phoenix area. Automatic aid means the closest unit is dispatched using GPS to an emergency regardless of jurisdiction. For example, if a fire is on the Tempe/Mesa border and Tempe Fire, Medical, Rescue is closer to the incident than Mesa, Tempe will respond. This decreases response times, provides the department with unlimited resources, and is a more efficient and effective use of resources throughout the Phoenix area.

How do I contact the Tempe Fire, Medical, Rescue Department?
Tempe Fire, Medical, Rescue Department
P.O. Box 5002
Tempe, Arizona 85280
480-858-7200 (Main Phone Number)
480-858-7230 (Education Specialist)

What is the Lockbox and Vial of Life Program?
Secure Lockbox Program - The Lockbox Program is designed to allow fire and emergency personnel access into your home in an emergency situation where the likelihood of forced entry is likely. The Lockbox Program is primarily for seniors who live alone, have a physical disability or a medical condition. Your personal information and access instructions are linked to each lockbox stored in the Fire, Medical, Rescue Department's database. This allows for storage of confidential information and creates a systematic emergency response. Lockbox combinations are confidential. Residents are asked to place a house key in the lockbox so that emergency personnel can easily access the home. This program is free to qualifying residents.

The Vial of Life Program - In an emergency situation, immediate access to medical information can literally save a life. You can assist first responders by giving them information they need. This service allows you to fill out a personal information form which includes patient medical and health information needed by first responders. The completed form goes into a "vial" and is then placed on the top shelf inside refrigerator and a magnet is placed on the outside of the refrigerator door. First responders are trained to look at the refrigerator door for the magnet. Upon seeing the magnet, they know that important information is waiting inside the refrigerator. This program is free to qualifying residents.

To get a Lockbox or Vial of Life, call (480) 350-2704.
How do I report an emergency?
9-1-1 is the phone number to call to report a fire, police or medical emergency. 9-1-1 is initially answered by the Tempe Police Department, regardless of the emergency you are reporting. However, if you are reporting a fire or medical emergency, you will immediately be connected to a Fire, Medical, Rescue Department. 
Is the Tempe Fire, Medical, Rescue Department internationally accredited?
Yes. The Tempe Fire, Medical, Rescue Department was the first Internationally Accredited Department in the nation, and we are fully accredited through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. The Tempe Fire, Medical and Rescue Department has an ISO rating of 2. Tempe is one of 585 in the country to achieve this high rating and has maintained this rating since 1982, which speaks to the Department’s fire suppression capabilities.

How do I volunteer to help the Fire, Medical, Rescue Department?
Local governments prepare for emergencies. However, there are emergency situations that can overwhelm the Fire, Medical, Rescue Department’s immediate response capability. While adjacent jurisdictions, State and Federal resources can be activated, there may be a delay in them getting to those who need it. The primary reason for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training is to give people the decision-making and physical skills to offer immediate assistance to the community. While people will respond to others in need without the training, the goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively without placing themselves in unnecessary danger. If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays the Fire Department, CERT members can assist others by applying the basic response tools that they learned during training. These skills can help save and sustain lives following a disaster until help arrives. For the more information call 480-858-7230.

Visit our CERT web page.
Does the Fire, Medical, Rescue Department have a disaster supply kit checklist?
Yes. Visit our Emergency Preparedness web page.
Who should I call if I have bees in my yard or house?
DO NOT call the fire department to remove bee colonies or hives. If you want bees removed, look in the yellow pages under "bee removal" or "beekeepers." Only call the Fire, Medical, Rescue  Department if it's a medical emergency.
Does the Fire, Medical, Rescue Department install or assist with car seats?
Tempe Fire, Medical, Rescue Department personnel are available Monday through Friday to inspect your car seat to make sure it's properly installed. To make an appointment to get a car seat checked for free, contact Monique Bonfiglio or call (480) 858-7230.
How is the Tempe Fire, Medical, Rescue Department Organized?
Fire, Medical, Rescue Department services include emergency medical, fire suppression, hazardous materials response, fire prevention, public education and organization-wide disaster preparedness activities. Tempe has six fire stations housing eight engine companies, two ladder companies, one scene support and one battalion chief. Each of the ladder and engine companies are staffed around the clock with four firefighters. All firefighters are certified emergency medical technicians and hazardous materials "first responders." Visit our "How we are organized" web page.
How do I get a job with the Tempe Fire, Medical, Rescue Department?

Selection Process Overview: Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in a written examination. Applicants who pass the written exam become eligible for a first level interview. Applicants who are selected will go on for a second level interview. After the second level interview, applicants who are selected will be scheduled for a candidate physical ability test. Applicants who pass the CPAT are placed on an eligibility list. As openings occur, firefighter recruits musts complete a 12 week academy and are then placed in the field as probationary firefighters for a period of 12 months. Successful completion of all phases of the selection process does NOT automatically guarantee a position with the City of Tempe Fire, Medical and Rescue Department. Position vacancies, academy class size and time constraints dictate if a candidate will be hired.

Visit our job page

What are the effects of bath salts?
Baths salts are a serious problem across the United States, and Tempe is no exception. While some of the chemicals making up bath salts can be technically legal, the effects can be deadly. Baths salts are made up of beta-keto amphetamines, synthetic chemicals that mimic cathinone in the Khat plant. These are very powerful stimulants which cause rapid metabolism and dangerously high body temperatures of 107 degrees. Under the influence of bath salts, the body’s metabolism can be so extreme as to render the patient incapable of taking in enough oxygen to prevent cellular suffocation resulting in potentially fatal heart arrhythmias. Signs of a person on bath salts include ranting, removal of clothing and delirium. This is considered a medical emergency and people should call 9-1-1, when encountering a person on bath salts.
What devices are available to help people with disabilities escape a fire?
How often should a fire extinguisher be replaced/serviced?

If an extinguisher is brand new, it needs to be visually checked monthly by the business owner. If the owner does not want to take on that responsibility, they need to have it serviced annually. Every 6 years a full servicing should be done, and every 12 years a hydrostatic test should be done. It is often a better deal to buy a new extinguisher at the 6 and 12 year marks.

There are no requirements for personal residences, but it is recommended that they be visually checked every year to make sure there are no cracks or rust and to make sure the pin is still in the green. After 10 years or so the extinguisher should be replaced.


Visit our fire extinguisher page.

What products have been recalled?
Visit for a list of nationally recalled products.
How can drowning be prevented?
A list of water safety devices and tips to prevent drowning can be found on our water safety web page.
What type of water safety devices are available?
A list of water safety devices and tips to prevent drowning can be found on our water safety web page.
What type of smoke alarm do I need?
There are several name brands available including Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and Factory Mutual (FM). Smoke alarms are available for the hearing impaired and can be purchased through your local fire equipment companies. It's important that you follow the manufacturer's recommendations for installation, testing and maintenance. Visit our smoke alarm web page.
How can I get more information about CPR?
Visit our CPR and first aid web page to find out how to sign up for classes and watch videos on how CPR is performed.
What is carbon monoxide and is it dangerous?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, deadly gas. It can kill you before you know it because you can't see it, taste it or smell it. When CO is breathed in by an individual, it accumulates in the blood and forms a toxic compound known as carboxyhemoglobin (COHb). Hemoglobin carries oxygen in the bloodstream to cells and tissues. Carbon monoxide attaches itself to hemoglobin and displaces the oxygen that the body organs need.

Carboxyhemoglobin can cause headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells, confusion and irritability. Later stages of CO poisoning can cause vomiting, loss of consciousness and eventually brain damage or death. Appliances such as furnaces, space heaters, clothes dryers, ranges, ovens, water heaters, charcoal grills, fireplaces and wood burning stoves produce CO. Carbon monoxide usually is vented to the outside if appliances function correctly and the home is vented properly. Problems occur when the furnace heat exchanger crack or vents and chimneys become blocked.

The Tempe Fire Department recommends installing at least one carbon monoxide detector with an audible alarm near the bedrooms. If a home has more than one story, a detector should be placed on each story.

Visit our carbon monoxide web page.

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