4 new firefighters at Superstition Fire and Medical District

From left are Firefighter John Rankin, Firefighter Matt Leon, Recruit Training Officer Capt. Dustin Farber, Firefighter Mark Nelson and Firefighter Chris Wohlforth. (Superstition Fire and Medical District)

Four new firefighters have begun serving with the Superstition Fire and Medical District, which includes Apache Junction, Gold Canyon and adjacent unincorporated Pinal County.

John Rankin, Matt Leon, Mark Nelson and Chris Wohlforth were offered positions with the SFMD after competing with about 200 applicants, and after completing an extensive testing process that began in late 2018, according to a release.

They began their training as recruit firefighters at the Phoenix Fire Department Training Academy on Feb. 25 and graduated on May 24.

“Now, the new state-certified firefighters are serving our community from various SFMD fire stations. Please join the SFMD in congratulating our newest firefighters,” Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Richard Ochs, SFMD public information officer, said in the release.

In September 2018 the Superstition Fire and Medical District was awarded a federal firefighter assistance grant for “Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response.” The primary purpose of the SAFER grant is to provide fire departments with temporary financial support to assist in increasing the staffing and response capabilities to meet community needs, according to the release.

Improving staffing and deployment capabilities allows fire service organizations to respond to emergencies more safely and effectively.  The SAFER grant gave the SFMD the ability to hire seven additional firefighters, the release states.

The first three of the firefighters graduated the Phoenix Fire Academy on Jan. 25. A significant portion of the salaries for these seven new firefighters is funded by the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a three-year period, resulting in a significant cost saving for district citizens, according to the release. 

The Superstition Fire and Medical District encompasses 62 square miles and provides 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.

Go to fema.gov/staffing-adequate-fire-emergency-response-grants  and sfmd.az.gov.

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