6 Superstition Fire and Medical District captains graduate from battalion chief academy

From left are Superstition Fire and Medical District captains Alex Dupuis, Geof Shively and Tanner Fox; Fire Chief Mark Nichols of Daisy Mountain Fire District; and SFMD captains John Walka, Mark Gomez and Jeff Ehrlich. (Submitted photo)

Six fire captains from the Superstition Fire and Medical District recently graduated from a local battalion chief academy.

SFMD captains Alex Dupuis, Geof Shively, Tanner Fox, John Walka, Mark Gomez and Jeff Ehrlich graduated in a class of 55 representing several local fire departments.

Hosted by the Arizona Fire Chiefs Association, the academy is designed to help prepare fire captains for a future position of battalion chief and also to strengthen their knowledge and confidence in their current role, according to a release.

The academy consisted of eight days and more than 60 hours of instruction in topics such as developing leadership styles, ethics, emotional intelligence, avoiding conflict, reading smoke, tactics and strategy, collaborative communication, and progressive leadership principles and concepts.

The course was instructed by current and retired chief officers from various Arizona departments and the Los Angeles Fire Department, according to the release.

Fire captains directly supervise a fire station and an engine or ladder company consisting of four personnel.  Captains are responsible to directly supervise firefighting and EMS operations, SFMD Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Richard Ochs said in a release.

“They are also responsible for assigned apparatus and equipment, and to provide on-going training for their crew members. Battalion chiefs directly supervise fire captains,” he said.

“These chief officers are responsible for several fire stations and personnel, and for the operational readiness of their respective shift. They serve as incident commanders at fires and other incidents that require the response of more than two companies. Battalion chiefs also serve as program managers and have oversight for particular divisions, specialty teams, equipment and specific assigned duties,” SFMD Assistant Chief Ochs said in the release.

SFMD was established in 1955 under what is now Arizona Revised Statutes 48-261. It was formed by property owners and registered voters who petitioned the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to create a special taxing district to provide fire protection services. The fire district encompasses 62 square miles.

The fire district provides fire suppression, fire prevention, wildland protection, advanced life support, rescue, extrication and medical transportation services out of five fire stations: Fire Station 261, 1135 W Superstition Blvd. in Apache Junction; Fire Station 262, 3955 E. Superstition Blvd. in Apache Junction; Fire Station 263, 1645 S. Idaho Road in Apache Junction; Fire Station 264, 7557 E. U.S. Highway 60 in Gold Canyon; and Fire Station 265, 9294 E. Don Donnelly Trail in Gold Canyon.


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