Rural Metro to handle Yarnell 911 calls

Rural Metro to handle Yarnell 911 calls

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -

It's been in the works for a while, but the Yarnell Hill wildfire has sped up the process.

As of August 1, all emergency calls in Yarnell will be handled by Rural Metro in Glendale.

"When the fire happened, most of the volunteer dispatchers lost their homes and were displaced and we had to fast track what we could do to help them get back on line," said Katy Reeve, Rural Metro's public information officer.

So here's how the partnership works:  When someone in Yarnell calls 911, the call rings at the Yavapai Sheriff's office.

"They'll determine whether it is a call for the Sheriff's office to respond to and they will handle it.  Otherwise, if it's fire, EMS will dispatch directly to our office here in Glendale," explained Reeve.

Fire Chief Jim Koile says they welcome the new partnership.

"The biggest thing is reliability, so we know our system is going to work every time.  We know we have a professional dispatch person who is gonna answer the phone," he said.

"They feel it's going to save them money in the long run as well and it's going to provide their citizens with a level of emergency response that they deserve," said Reeve.

Rural Metro in Glendale dispatches about 250,000 emergency response calls every year.

The town of Yarnell has about 150 calls each year.

No additional staffing will be needed to handle the increase.

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