Maricopa Fire Department first tested its new all-terrain vehicle in July. Wednesday, the department was officially presented the ATV.
Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation provided the $28,937 vehicle through its equipment grants.
Fire Chief Brady Leffler said he noticed the Santa Monica Fire Department using a similar vehicle and recognized its value. He discussed prospects with Assistant Chief John Storm and discovered the grant program from Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation.
Brady said it was not a purchase MFD could have afforded on its own.
“They have provided a very vital tool for the fire department so that we can use that for the urban-wildland interface,” he said.
MFD spokesman Brad Pitassi said first responders tried out the Polaris 6×6 ATV as a “med cart” during the city’s Independence Day celebration at Copper Sky.
“It worked great for that situation, where we were driving in and through the crowd,” Pitassi said. “We had been using an ATV, but it was a general ATV. This one gives us more room for equipment.”
Brady said the ATV will allow MFD to respond to emergencies more quickly at events at Copper Sky and other venues.
“It has the potential to transport patients,” he said. “We can transport the patient to the ambulance as opposed to the ambulance trying to work [its] way in. It’s six-wheel drive, which gets us through all the obstacles, and it’s got a winch in case we do get it stuck.”
The foundation is mostly funded through individual and corporate donations. The Maricopa franchise of Firehouse Subs keeps a donation box on its counter.
“This is very similar to the way I grew up,” said John Beveridge, who co-owns the franchise with wife Becky. “I grew up in a smaller town where you knew people in town and you supported people in town, and people in town supported you. And that’s the key thing for us.”
Brady said MFD will continue to work with the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in an effort to get other equipment.
“One of the things I’m a big believer in is partnerships, and I know there’s a lot of things we can’t do if we don’t have buy-in from the community,” said Mayor Christian Price, one of several elected officials and Chamber of Commerce members on hand for the event in front of the Maricopa Firehouse Subs.
He called the grant for the ATV “exquisite.”
Price said the city lives within its meager budget. “We could not do this, the fire department could not do this, Public Safety could not do this without you,” he told foundation representatives.
Meghan Vargas, senior manager of Foundation Development, said the program has given more than $15 million in grants since its founding in 2005.