MESA, Ariz. (Aug. 1, 2013) – When many of the volunteer Yarnell dispatchers were displaced after the Yarnell Hill Fire destroyed their homes, Rural/Metro stepped-up to provide a solution for Town of Yarnell’s emergency dispatch needs.

“Our community was in serious need of a dispatch system and Rural/Metro came to our rescue,” said Yarnell Fire Chief Jim Koile. “Their understanding of what our community needs, and immediate and professional action to help makes this transition an easy one for us. We are grateful that our community will have the type of emergency services it deserves.”

Rural/Metro and Yarnell Fire Department had been working on a dispatch plan for several months when the Yarnell Hill Fire caused massive damage and claimed the lives of 19 firefighters. Dispatch solution plans that had been moving along were fast-tracked when so many of the town’s dispatchers were no longer able to volunteer their time.

Because radio transmitting between Yarnell and Glendale, where Rural/Metro dispatches its emergency calls, is around 70 miles away, they needed to develop a new way to communicate efficiently between the two sites. They were able to set up a communications pathway that transmits calls in real time to the existing equipment of the Yarnell Fire Department.

A Yarnell resident dials 9-1-1 and is connected to the Yavapai Sherriff’s Office. If the call is medical or fire, it is relayed directly to the Rural/Metro dispatch center in Glendale in real time – no delays – then to Yarnell Fire. It happens as if a caller was just down the street from the dispatch center.

The six volunteer Yarnell dispatchers dispatched around 150 calls for fire or medical services each year. This call volume is easily absorbed by the Rural/Metro communications center, which typically dispatches more than 250,000 calls annually. All of Rural/Metro’s 9-1-1 dispatchers are Emergency Medical Dispatch certified and trained in the highest level of clinical and emergency response needs, following the Arizona Department of Health Services standards for dispatch-assisted CPR and other life-saving protocols.

“We are doing this because it is the right thing to do,” said Rural/Metro Vice President John P. Karolzak. “We are doing it to provide a small agency the opportunity to receive professional dispatch services and technology that would otherwise be unavailable. Rural/Metro was founded on the idea that we should help a community when it needs help, and that is what we are doing.”

Rural/Metro founder, Lou Witzeman started the company 65 years ago when he saw his neighborhood was in desperate need for fire protection services.  Today, Rural/Metro operates in 21 states across the country, but caring for citizens and providing a solution to a problem is always a priority, especially in its home state of Arizona.

Rural/Metro also provides a similar emergency dispatch solution for Wittmann, Arizona City, Circle City and Morristown in Arizona.
In addition to providing dispatch operation support, Rural/Metro crews from San Tan Valley all the way to Cave Creek, raised more than $30,000 to help the families of those brave 19 men. The Rural/Metro Fire Department also sent firefighters to help Yarnell Fire Department as they work through the difficulties of recovering from the devastating fire.

For more information about Rural/Metro, visit