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A home caught fire early Saturday morning in the Villages, but no injuries were reported.

Three adults and two children were at home in the 43600 block of West McClelland Court. according to Maricopa Police Department spokesman Ricardo Alvarado. Maricopa Fire/Medical Department received the call at 3:26 a.m.

“The house was fully engulfed from the garage area,” Alvarado said. Six Maricopa engine companies responded along with units from Phoenix and Chandler.

The cause is under investigation.

A Maricopa firefighter works a hydrant, though water was not necessary to shut down the situation. Photo by Michelle Chance

An estimated 1,000 Maricopa High School students were evacuated from the two-story 100 building Thursday morning after a report of smoke.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department officials said a power surge caused light valances on the top floor to burn. MFMD had six vehicles on location.

Students were initially taken to the football field, but school officials soon began the process of moving them to a cooler location. Maricopa Unified School District spokesman Tom Beckett said the students would be taken to the gymnasium before first lunch.

No injuries were reported, according to MFMD Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez. The school sent out messages to parents indicating there was no need to pick up their children and the building was expected to be inhabitable as soon as it is cleared by Electrical District No. 3.

Firefighters shut down electrical power and checked for hot spots. The smoke was first reported by students.

Maricopa Fire/Medical crews help AMR personnel at an incident earlier this year. Photo by Michelle Chance

Ambulances housed in city fire stations have until the end of summer to vacate, a fire official confirmed this week.

Brady Leffler, chief of Maricopa Fire/Medical Department, said American Medical Response units in stations 571 and 574 will need to find a new home on or before July 31.

The issue revolves around unsuccessful contract and licensing negotiations.

Leffler said the private emergency response company paid $330 per month rent in a previous contract first drawn up in 2010 with Southwest Ambulance and then Rural Metro Ambulance before being bought out by AMR.

Before that contract expired in 2014, Leffler said he began designing a new agreement that would garner a “reasonable amount” for rent.

The city’s economic development team was recruited to analyze the fair market value of the space AMR uses inside MFMD. Leffler said he took the average rent cost per square foot in the city and reduced that figure by approximately 35 percent.

“I was going to charge them for one-third of the livable space and it came up to about $2,355 a month,” Leffler said. “(AMR) opted not to pay that.”

AMR did not respond to an interview request.

A person claiming to be an AMR employee wishing to remain anonymous said moving out of the fire stations would create increased response times to emergencies in Maricopa.

Leffler said he doesn’t think that will happen.

“(AMR) is still bound by the state standards and requirements so it should not affect the service one bit,” Leffer added.

Hosting ambulance units inside city fire stations is rare, Leffler said. With the exception of Gilbert, most other Valley fire departments don’t do it.

The City of Phoenix employs its own ambulances, he added.

It’s unknown where AMR will base its local units after July, but the company’s absence from the stations creates an opportunity for the department, Leffler said.

On the fire chief’s wish list are two additional fire trucks that would one day fill the vacancies previously occupied by AMR.

“We can’t afford to do that right now and it’s something we’ll be looking at down the road, but it sure gives us another option,” Leffler said.

Although a licensing rental agreement couldn’t be made, Leffler said he wants to get a service-based contract regarding logistics and transport with AMR in the future.

Photo by Mason Callejas

Members of the media were introduced to the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department’s latest major upgrade to their fleet Tuesday. MFMD’s public information officer, Capt. Brad Pitassi, gave tours of their new 100-foot Pierce ladder truck which serves not only as a multifaceted tool for fighting fires, but also for responding to medical emergencies. The truck, Pitassi said, which helps the department better serve the community, should be part of the MFMD fleet for 15 years or more.

 

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Assistant Fire Chief John Storm gives an "After the Fire" presentation in Senita. Photo by Michelle Chance

A week after a Senita house fire displaced a family on New Year’s Eve, members from the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department held a public meeting to discuss the fire investigation.

Assistant Fire Chief John Storm, standing in front of the garage where the fire is said to have originally sparked, spoke to a small crowd Jan. 11.

The first rig on-scene arrived 4 minutes and 39 seconds after being dispatched, Storm said. MF/MD was later aided with additional assistance from Sun Lakes, Goodyear and Chandler Fire departments.

The blaze was controlled after 39 minutes.

“There is still no determination on the cause,” Storm said.

Deputy Fire Marshall Eddie Rodriguez said the majority of investigations reveal the sources of house fires are accidental.

Rodriguez is working with the homeowner’s insurance company during the investigation.

“The reason we do these investigations is not to place blame on anyone; we do these investigations to find what started this fire,” Rodriguez said.

MFMD spokesman Brad Pitassi said the most common cause of most garage fires is electrical.

To reduce your risk of garage fire, Pitassi recommends:

  1. If you use the garage as workspace, practice good workspace habits. For example, do not over burden electric outlets with multiple extension cords or power strips. Hire a qualified electrician to install additional outlets.
  2. Don’t store excessive amounts of flammables in the garage, like oil. Buy and store what you will use.
  3. Store flammable paints, solvents and gasoline in a back yard shed away from the home.
  4. Use a heat detector in the garage and fire detectors and alarms throughout the home.

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Neighbors gathered in The Villages for a Monday presentation by Maricopa Fire/Medical Department after a house fire. Photo by Mason Callejas

The average response time for a Maricopa fire truck is 4-6 minutes.

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department held a fire safety presentation Monday at a home in the Villages that was partially burned by a fire last week. Against the backdrop of the charred home, the department emphasized the importance of planning and early-alert systems, such as having evacuation plans, functioning smoke alarms and not being afraid to call as early as possible.

Speaking at the event, Battalion Chief Ken Pantoja stressed the importance of alerting the fire department as soon as possible. Given that fires can double in size every minute, the earlier the call comes in, the better, he said.

A rise in plastics and synthetic materials in everyday items such as carpets, furniture and appliances has accelerated the speed at which fire moves, he said.

“When I first started, we had about 20 minutes to fight a fire,” Pantoja said. “Now, we have 6-8 minutes.”

MFMD Public Information Officer Brad Pitassi additionally emphasized the importance of calling 911 earlier.

They, like most modern fire departments, have real-time information given to them, he said. When a caller alerts 911 dispatchers to the location of a trapped family member or details about the fire, they immediately send that information to the responding firefighters, giving them an edge when combating the blaze.

For the most part, Assistant Chief John Storm said, the fire was contained to one portion of the house due to the rapid communication between dispatchers and responders. Within 35 seconds the first truck was en route, and five minutes and 36 second later they were on scene.

Firefighters were able to use the real-time information relayed to them by dispatch to quickly react when they arrived.

The Professor was the only injury in the fire, needing oxygen from MFMD afterward.

Three out of every five fatalities that occur due to fire, Pitassi said, happen in buildings without smoke detectors.

“If you check your batteries, if you make sure your detectors are working and efficient and in the right position, you’re going to cut your chances of dying in a house fire by 50 percent,” Pitassi said. “Go home and check your alarms, please.”

MFMD officials also emphasized the importance of having a safe meeting place for your family to go during a fire, preferably on the opposite side of the street, away from the fire and out of the way of first responders.

They also suggested keeping trees and hedges trimmed so they are less likely to act as a catalyst for a fire, limiting its ability to spread from house to house.

The fire in the Villages only injured one victim, a dog named Professor who was successfully treated for minor injuries and smoke inhalation. Pantoja said MFMD received a grant a while ago that also allows them to treat animals with oxygen and other minor injuries.

MFMD Fire Marshal Eddie Rodriguez said the exact cause of the blaze has yet to be determined.


Joycelyn Cabrera contributed to this article.

House Fire on corner of Alma & Griffis in Maricopa | September 26, 2017 | InMaricopa | Photographer Jonathan Williams

A mother and her two children safely evacuated their home in The Villages after it caught fire Tuesday afternoon, according to Maricopa Fire/Medical Department.

Brad Pitassi, MFMD spokesman, said crews received a call reporting the fire on Griffis and Alma drives around 3 p.m.

Officials are still investigating what caused the fire, but crews first on-scene said the blaze began in a second-story bedroom.

“Crews turned the corner and there was fire blowing out of the bedroom window,” Pitassi said. “They went inside, cleared the house, and there weren’t any residents inside of the house.”

Pitassi said the family’ two dogs made it out safely as well. Responding officers reported hearing fire alarms ringing as they entered the home, he said.

As crews worked to contain the fire upstairs, they discovered it had spread to the attic, Pitassi said.

“It was a very aggressive fire attack for that first crew that came in and they were able to stop that from extending deeper into the attic, so a really outstanding job there,” Pitassi said.

The “full response” fire received attention from every MFMD crew and automatic aid from two other fire departments in the Valley.

“As this fire was confirmed, then our dispatch center starts adding enough resources to it to be able to handle that problem. So Chandler (FD) did come down, we did have Sun Lakes (FD) that was en route,” Pitassi said.

The Maricopa Police Department closed Alma Drive at Edison Road for over an hour as first responders worked the scene.

Maricopa Fire Department Open House | Sept 23, 2017 | InMaricopa | Photographer Jonathan Williams

Maricopa Fire/Medical Department hosted an open house at Station 571 Saturday morning, giving tours of the building and equipment and especially its new ladder truck. Community members gathered at the station on Porter Road to meet fire personnel, including Chief Brady Leffler, and hear from Carlos Schulz and 571 Ladder Company about advancements.

Photo by Mason Callejas

The Maricopa Fire/Medical Department extinguished a mobile home fire in the Heritage District Monday morning.

MFMD responded en force to a call concerning “light smoke and a little bit of fire” coming from the attic of the residence on Condrey Avenue at about 10:30 a.m.

Battalion Chief Ken Pantoja said four trucks rapidly arrived on the scene and firefighters were quick to extinguish the blaze. Despite the damage to the home, he said, no one was hurt, which is the best they can hope for in a structure-fire situation.

“The guys [firefighters] did a good job, got [the fire] put out pretty quick, in the first couple minutes,” Pantajo said. “No injuries, it was a good outcome.”

Though there were no injuries, Pantoja said the family will likely be temporarily relocated due to the damage.

“Now we’re doing a salvage overall, and working on occupant services, getting the people somewhere to stay because the house is not livable at this time,” Pantoja said.

The official cause is unknown, Pantoja added, though considering its location in the attic area, the likely the culprit is electrical wiring.

Engine 575 crew (from left) Anthony Stimac, Josh Eads, Capt. Chris Bolinger and Jimmy Herta with Zoe and Zolee Hicks. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Figuring they were old enough to comprehend the meaning, Maricopa mom Sherese Hicks brought her twin daughters to Maricopa Fire Station 575 on Saturday to have them meet the first responders who helped bring them into the world.

Zoe and Zolee, now 4, were born under extreme circumstances Feb. 27, 2013. Even before going into labor, Hicks knew the girls were not situated properly, and family members were telling her to prepare for a caesarian section delivery.

The girls did not wait around for that.

As Sherese was being driven by her uncle and aunt, it was clear she needed immediate help. The crew of Engine 575 met them at the Circle K at the corner of John Wayne Parkway and Smith-Enke Road, where firefighter/paramedic Josh Eads helped Hicks deliver the first twin. To his surprise, the girl came out feet-first.

After eight years on the job, it was Eads’ first baby delivery. His response was, “What is that?”

The baby was not only breech but also had the umbilical cord around her neck. Eads’ training had covered more typical birth scenarios, but he and the crew were able to sort out the situation safely and get Hicks ready for transport to the hospital.

The second baby was born – again feet first – en route to the Chandler Regional Medical Center.

“Typically, with a breech kid, we’re not going to deliver them in the field,” Eads said. “The idea is to give them that supportive care – IVs, fluids, medications if they need it – and then get them to the professional to do it.”

Eads said he was calm walking into the situation, both because of the consistent training the crew gets for emergencies and because of the naivete of never having the experience of delivering a baby. Hicks, who has three older children, was calm for a different reason.

“I wasn’t worried because I knew that it’s all part of God’s plan. I knew that it would be fine,” she said, including the firefighters in her faith. “They had to have been a part of God’s plan. For them not to ever have delivered a breech baby and [Eads] not to ever deliver a baby, it was like, ‘Oh, my goodness.’ It had to be.”

At the reunion Saturday, Zoe and Zolee hugged the members of the Engine 575 crew and received child-friendly goodies in return. The team on Engine 575 that night was Eads, Capt. Chris Bolinger, engineer Jimmy Huerta and firefighter Anthony Stimac.

“Any time there’s more than one baby, it’s a high-risk delivery. In this case the babies were born breech,” MFMD spokesman Brad Pitassi said. “We train for worst-case scenarios, and this was a worst-case scenario … with the best outcome we could possibly imagine.

“Paramedics that responded that day as well as paramedics on the ambulance, the EMTs that assisted – this was a team effort, and everybody performed just like they’re trained to do in responding to such emergencies.”

Bolinger said the crew looks forward to continuing the relationship with the family and watching the girls grow up.

Maricopa CERT volunteers (from left) Bill Robertson, Jim Fuller and Charles Morene. Photo by Mason Callejas

In the event of an emergency or disaster, when its firefighters and paramedics are in need of support services, the Maricopa Fire/Medical Department turns to a group of dedicated volunteers to lend a hand.

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), is a band of ordinary citizens trained to provide support services including crowd control, hydration and other emergency assistance.

As part of National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, the program and one of its instructor and key coordinators, Jim Fuller, were recognized by the city for their past assistance and growing number of contributions.

Fuller, formerly a volunteer for the Maricopa Police Department, was part of CERT’s founding in 2012 and is now in his fifth year on the team. He, more than most, knows the importance of the typical support services they provide, though he also recognizes the team has much larger, more vital role.

“Day to day, it’s important because we offer rehab to firefighters,” Fuller said. “But in terms of the city, someday we may be called upon if there is a real disaster at some point.”

Though it was not quite a natural disaster, CERT made its first appearance at the Country Thunder music festival this year in Florence, where they assisted with ill and sometimes unruly attendees. At the festival’s medical rehabilitation tents, CERT members provided water and respite for dehydrated and overheated concert-goers, even assisting with a “minor stabbing incident and cardiac arrest.”

Fire inspector and MFMD CERT coordinator Eddie Rodriguez feels the program is invaluable, not only for the material support it lends at events, but also for the safety and security they help provide for their neighborhoods and communities. When things go bad, he said, the community needs people to help until the MFMD can arrive.

“The idea is to have somebody in each subdivision so when we do have that disaster they can take care of each of their neighborhoods,” Rodriguez said.

In the event of a disaster, he added, it’s much like the emergency procedures on a plane: “You take care of yourself and your family first, then your neighbors.”

Falling under the umbrella of FEMA, CERT is a national program that prepares ordinary citizens to “help themselves, their families and neighbors in the event of a disaster.”

CERT volunteer Bill Robertson emphasized the volunteers are not trained to provide more than just basic medical attention, though their knowledge in emergency preparedness and response can certainly keep a tough situation from becoming worse.

Their role, he said, is really to “cover that gap between when a disaster happens and when emergency services can arrive.”

CERT and programs like it have assisted in disaster events such as hurricanes Katrina and Rita, earthquakes in California, wildfires in Oregon and Texas and even at the World Trade Center in the days following Sept. 11, 2001.

In Arizona, the program is one of five offered through the state’s Department of Homeland Security Citizen Corps, each designed to assist emergency responders of all types when dealing with disasters.

Other programs include Volunteer in Police Service (VIPS), the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC), the Fire Corps (FC), and USAonWatch/Neighborhood Watch.

Those interested in actively volunteering for Maricopa CERT can contact Jim Fuller by email at jimfuller1934@gmail.com, or by phone at 520-840-5293.

For information on any of the other volunteer programs offered by the AZDHS visit citizencorps.gov.

MFD personnel gather to work an accident scene on John Wayne Parkway. Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

A four-vehicle bumper-to-bumper crash on John Wayne Parkway backed up northbound traffic Friday afternoon as first responders worked the scene. City of Maricopa Fire/Medical and Maricopa Police Department personnel were on site quickly after the accident just south of the intersection with Edison Road to evaluate any injuries and move traffic out of the area.

MPD cited inattention by the driver of a big box truck as the cause of the domino-effect impact. That truck ran into the back of a pest-control pickup truck, which hit the back of an SUV, which in turn hit another SUV, which had stopped for a red light at the intersection. A 14-year-old in the front vehicle was transported to a hospital as a precaution for neck pains.

Some fluids were detected leaking from the pest-control vehicle but were determined to be unharmful to the public. MFMD personnel used soaking agents to clear those and other liquids left at the scene. The accident was cleared by 1:30 p.m.

Merry Copa at Copper Sky will include the lighting of a Christmas tree and lots of holiday activities.

The third annual Merry Copa Holiday Festival is Dec. 3 at Copper Sky.

Popular features are back, like the Snow Zone, cookie decorating, a gingerbread house contest and live entertainment.

MFD Toy Drive at Merry Copa

For the first time City of Maricopa Fire and Medical will host its annual holiday toy drive in conjunction with the city’s Merry Copa holiday event.
The toy drive, to be held at the Copper Sky Recreation Complex, will take place on Saturday Dec. 3, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and is set to precede the annual Merry Copa holiday festival, which will run from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Toys will be collected by members of the fire department and will go to F.O.R. Maricopa for redistribution.
Those who contribute to the drive will be given the opportunity to take a ride on one of MFD’s firetrucks. 

“The Snow Zone will have inflatables and a bigger snow slide,” city events manager Neisha Whitman said. “We’ll have the synthetic ice rink again, too.”

Wristbands for the Snow Zone are $5.

Outside the snow zone, decorate holiday cookies and ornaments. Check out the gingerbread houses competing for a $100 gift card and a holiday ham. There will also be face-painting, a magic show, petting zoo, trackless train and entertainment by local groups.

Kids can also write letters to Santa. They even have a chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus.

In fact, there might be lots of Santas. A big addition to the festivities is a Santa Run. Participants can run a 5K version of the race or just try the 1-mile walk option. Registered runners will receive a one-size-fits-all Santa outfit to run in.

If You Go
What: Merry Copa Holiday Festival
When: Dec. 3, 2-6 p.m. (tree lighting approximately 5:45 p.m.)
Where: Copper Sky Regional Park, 45345 W. Martin Luther King Blvd.
How much: Free entry ($5 for Snow Zone; $1 for cookie decorating and hot chocolate; $5 for parking on location but free off-site parking with complimentary shuttle)
Info & Registration: Maricopa-AZ.gov/web/Merry-Copa and Maricopa-AZ.gov/web/Merrycopa-Santa-Run

“They may have to cut them up or roll them up, but they’ll fit everybody,” Whitman said.

The Santa Run is for ages 6 and up. Registration is $30 in advance and $40 the day of the event. The race is scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

The “Santas” will run laps through the park. Anyone who beats “the Grinch” will receive a free hot chocolate.

Whitman said the Santa Run is scheduled to finish around the time Mayor Christian Price leads a countdown to light the Christmas tree beside the lake.

Parking for Merry Copa is $5 at Copper Sky. There is free parking at seven locations with a free shuttle to and from the event from 1:45 to 7 p.m. Those lots are at Santa Rosa Elementary, Santa Cruz Elementary, Maricopa Wells Middle School, Butterfield Elementary, Ace Hardware (ADA access), Saddleback Elementary and Maricopa Elementary.


This story appears in the December issue of InMaricopa.

Field Service and Flushing/Distribution technician Scott Williams flushes a hydrant in the Homestead neighborhood of Maricopa as part of Global Water’s newly revised flushing program. The revision prescribes annually scheduled flushing of hydrants throughout the city to prevent the buildup of sediment that could potentially damage fire department pumping equipment. Photo by Mason Callejas

Municipal water supplier Global Water is in negotiations with City of Maricopa Fire & Medical over an agreement to clean and maintain hydrants within the city, a move aimed to help mitigate risks of equipment rendered inoperable by dirty water.

The private company, which controls and distributes most of Maricopa’s fresh water supply, is working closely with the fire department to reach an agreement about the removal and prevention of potentially dangerous silt and sediment buildup in the city’s hydrant supply lines.

In the past, sediment from hydrants has been identified as a source of problems with MFD’s crucial pumping equipment.

During a call to the public at the regular session of the Maricopa city council meeting Nov. 1, Global Water General Manager Jon Corwin outlined the measures the company is taking to correct the problem, and how after working together over the past year the two parties have likely reached an agreement.

“That agreement has been reviewed by Global Water and sent back to the fire department,” Corwin said. “We’re hopeful that we’re close to signing that agreement.”

In an earlier interview, Corwin said he was never made aware of any recent issues with MFD pumping equipment and that if it had happened it must have happened in the distant past.

“That message was never even communicated to Global Water,” Corwin Said. “So, when that happened exactly I’m not sure, but I know it was not anytime recent.”

Maricopa Fire Chief Brady Leffler, on the other hand, insisted that the incident did happen around a year ago, and that it was reported. Nonetheless, Leffler went on to say that, despite an initial sluggish response from the company, he is happy that Global Water has begun working closer with MFD to address the issue and the two parties were soon to reach a workable agreement.

“Our relationship with Global Water has improved tremendously over the past couple months,” Leffler said. “When we started this process it was very dysfunctional, being a privately owned water company. We had a meeting and it didn’t go well. Since that time we had another meeting that did go well.”

Corwin agreed the meeting was constructive and Global Water has tentatively agreed to continually and systematically flush hydrant lines to prevent any issue in the future.

The proposed agreement would also allow the fire department to go in after the flushing is done to check the hydrants’ functionality as well as assure that non-working hydrants are addressed and reconciled with the Geographical Information Systems public safety standards.

Photo by Raquel Hendrickson

Maricopans can play a round of golf and show their appreciation for local first responders at the same time.

Rosemary Quesenberry is hosting a “Silent Heroes” tournament on Oct. 30. All proceeds will be divided between the Maricopa Police Department and Maricopa Fire Department.

The tournament will be at The Duke, 42660 W. Rancho El Dorado Parkway. The shotgun start is at 1 p.m.

Cost is $75 per golfer and includes food after the event. There will be some silent auction items.

Sign up and pay directly to the pro shop at The Duke or mail your payment to The Duke, 42660 W. Rancho El Dorado Parkway. Payments must be received prior to Oct. 28. Groups that want to play together should submit payments together and advise the pro shop.

 

First responders gather at a storm drain where a small dog disappeared. The pet apparently rescued himself, however. MFD photo

By Ethan McSweeney

Maricopa fire crews and other responders braved the heat on June 11 to try to rescue a four-legged friend that had fallen down a storm drain.

A dog, which was being walked on a leash, was frightened by a passing bicyclist and somehow fell down a storm drain on the road west of the Villages at Rancho El Dorado Clubhouse, said Chip Wright, a spokesman for the Maricopa Fire Department.

Wright isn’t sure what kind of dog it was, but it was presumed a small breed in order to fall through the opening in the storm drain, he said.

A search and rescue mission involving several agencies soon formed to find the dog, including the Maricopa Police Department, Global Water and city engineers, in addition to MFD. Community Emergency Response Teams also came out to provide water and shade to the teams working.

The engineers determines the storm drain was a closed system that emptied into the Green Belt, an area where storm runoff flows. So, the responders removed the grate at the end of the storm drain.

After calling out for the dog and getting no response, Global Water then brought out a camera to search for the dog inside the storm drain, Wright said. Then police received a call that the dog was at a nearby veterinarian’s office.

Just as the dog had found a way to fall into the storm drain, it found a way to get out. The dog showed up at a local business that happened to be next door to the veterinarian, who checked it for a chip and called the owner, Wright said.

The dog may have found its way out of the storm drain quickly, before crews removed the grate in the Green Belt, Wright said.

“No one knows for sure how the dog got out,” Wright said.

As temperatures begin to move into the extremes, Maricopa Fire Department reminds you prolonged or intense exposure to hot temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses such as heat exhaustion, heat cramps and heat stroke. Hydration and access to air conditioning and/or shade are necessary to avoid medical emergencies. Children, elderly and pets left in automobiles are particularly vulnerable.

• Heat stroke, the most serious form of heat-related illness, happens when the body becomes unable to regulate its core temperature. Sweating stops and the body can no longer rid itself of excess heat. Signs include confusion, loss of consciousness and seizures. Heat stroke is a medical emergency that may result in death. Call 911 immediately.

• Heat exhaustion is the body’s response to loss of water and salt from heavy sweating. Signs include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, irritability, thirst and heavy sweating.

• Heat syncope (fainting) results from low blood pressure when heat causes the blood vessels to expand (dilate) and body fluids move into the legs because of gravity.

• Heat tetany (hyperventilation and heat stress) is usually caused by short periods of stress in a hot environment.

• Heat edema is swelling in the legs and hands, which can occur when you sit or stand for long periods of time in a hot environment.

• Heat cramps are caused by the loss of body salts and fluid during sweating. Low salt levels in muscles cause painful cramps. Tired muscles – those used for performing the work – are usually the ones most affected by cramps. Cramps may occur during or after working hours.

• Heat rash, also known as prickly heat, is skin irritation caused by sweat that does not evaporate from the skin. Heat rash is the most common problem in hot work environments.

If you feel you are experiencing a heat-related emergency, call 911 and immediately get into some shade or air conditioning.

As the seasons change and the weather warms up, it is common for the community to see an increase in bee activity. In most instances the bees are harmless if left alone. To increase your awareness and safety the Maricopa Fire Department offers a few facts and tips:

  • When bees are present, stay indoors and close all windows and doors.
  • Do not attempt to move bees. Don’t throw objects at the swarm or squirt with water.
  • Typically, swarms are transient – they may set up temporary shelter in a tree for a few hours or even days before moving on.
  • Swarms close to daycare centers, schools or densely populated areas (large apartment complexes or trailer parks) may need to be removed by a professional beekeeper if they do not leave the area in a reasonable amount of time or are showing aggressive behavior.
  • Property owners are responsible for arranging beekeeper or exterminator services.
  • Your fire department is unable to eradicate bee swarms or remove bee hives and does not typically respond to swarms of bees unless special circumstances are present (e.g. aggressive, attacking bees).
  • Killing non-Africanized swarms only strengthens the Africanized population. Non-aggressive bees are essential in nature.
  • In case of a life-threatening emergency call 9-1-1.