Sedona AZ (October 16, 2012) – In an email to the SedonaEye.com editor, Mr. Tony Tonsich of Sedona Arizona sent photographs* and an email asking for an explanation whether Sedona Fire District firefighters observed eating breakfast in a local restaurant were on duty.
Sedona Fire Chief Kris Kazian investigated the issues raised in Mr. Tonsich’s email and responded. Below are the exchanges as received from both Mr. Tonsich and Chief Kazian:
I have had time to review your email and the concerns outlined. As previously stated in an email, my concerns, passion, and dedication are always in providing the best and most effective way of providing emergency services.
While what you and your daughter observed on Sunday morning might not have been the best application of providing the quickest and efficient emergency services, I believe there was no significant lapse in emergency preparedness for anyone in the Fire District. I have talked with the emergency crews at Station 4 to make sure they realize the importance of being 100% response ready at all times. I plan to have a staff meeting where this will be further discussed so it is addressed at all stations and with all personnel. I appreciate you bringing this to my attention as I am always looking for teachable moments to provide continuous improvement opportunities for our excellent staff at Sedona Fire District. As responses for the fire district are predicated on the number of apparatus and personnel assigned to the respective stations, through radio communications, they remain available in their respective response district. As alluded to staffing stations, it is not feasible or realistic to guarantee personnel will always be physically in a fire station 24/7 based on things like emergency incidents, fire/EMS training, public education opportunities, and, sometimes, for things like getting food or necessary supplies for the station. They should, however, be ready to respond quickly and effectively and that is being addressed with emergency personnel based on your observations.
As a point of clarification, my research confirms that there were only 5 firefighters (not 6 as mentioned) but that is relatively immaterial – just wanted to clarify. You mentioned they all paid individually – that is because as you are probably aware (since I believe your girlfriend is a former employee of 7 years and is familiar with the organization as described on your website, www.sedonafunnyfarm.com), each firefighter is responsible for paying for and supplying their own food while on their tour of duty. Food for the firefighters on duty is not paid for by the taxpayers – whether it is at a grocery store or a restaurant.
As I consider myself fortunate to be the chief for the last 6 months, I have been working as quickly as I can to employ best practice policies and programs for our staff and for the residents/guests. As I take inventory, investigate past practices, and work on creating a positive impacts for our future, it must all be done within reasonable parameters and timeframes. You have my guarantee that in due time, I will evaluate all of the practices and procedures and will be able to influence them in a very positive and response ready approach. I wish this could happen overnight, but my review of operations of the SFD continues on a daily basis and will continue throughout my tenure as Chief. I understand your concerns about Sunday’s incident and have addressed them internally; it could have been handled differently by the crews; however, I do not think there was an egregious error in judgment that needs any more than a discussion by the command staff with the battalion chiefs to assure better judgment is used in the future. My philosophy is one of a continual learning process; crews will learn from this opportunity and any recommended changes will be duly noted and actions will be modified as recommended. I appreciate you bringing it to my attention.
As for your correlation to our future Station 6 and the personnel at Wildflower, I understand your concern about my public comments and importance of response times; however, it seems to me these are independent issues that may have a common thread of response times, but the fact the crew was at Wildflower eating breakfast before going to an early morning community event and the staffing at future Station 6 do not seem to have a correlation. This station will be another resource for our response capabilities to be able to better serve the entire Sedona Fire District – both in that immediate area adjacent to the station and to the neighboring response districts in multiple call situations or during significant events. That being said, there will certainly be times when station 6 could be on another incident, training, or out of the station for whatever reason and a longer response may occur into an incident in that response area (or immediately adjacent areas) . This occurs in all of our stations currently as it does in every community across the country on any given day.
Lastly, I am aware of the motorcycle incident you refer to in your email. That incident occurred on October 17, 2009. It was part of a motorcycle fundraiser for the Trauma Intervention Program and Sedona Fire District Station 3 was one of many fire station stops during this event. As I have been told, in the interest of financial concerns, staff that were on duty and volunteers from the TIPS program were at the station to staff the event. It was always clear that our personnel were still available for emergency calls as this is our primary mission. The fact that the crew was dispatched to what was received as a significant medical emergency 11 minutes prior to the motorcycle arriving and it then subsequently catching fire is an unfortunate circumstance for all parties involved. Crews were NOT out having breakfast as you stated in your email. However, again, I do not see there was any connection to the concerns raised in your email relative to the situation on Sunday, I just wanted to clarifying the facts in this situation.
Thank you for your interest in bettering emergency services for the Sedona Fire District. I noted many inaccuracies in your aforementioned website and would be happy to discuss them with you, and encourage you (or the newspapers included in your email) to contact me with any future concerns as we continue to build on this continuous improvement journey. It is a goal of mine to set fact from fiction and past from present as we build our future as part of this great community. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with me.
Respectfully,Kris Kazian Fire Chief Sedona Fire District
If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. John Quincy Adams
From: Tony Tonsich
Sent: Sunday, October 14, 2012 12:27 PM
To: Kris Kazian
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Editor@SedonaEye.com; Editor@SedonaTimes.com
Subject: Station 4 breakfast Sunday 0750-0830 Wildflower Bakery, Sedona
Greetings Chief Kazian,
I see the Board of SFD approved a new station in the Chapel area to improve response times. Perhaps if the firemen were in the station that would also improve response times?
I observed the men in the attached photos, I counted 6 but my daughter only took clear pictures of 5, at breakfast Sunday 0750-0830 at the Wildflower Bakery, Sedona. Apparently they walked as there was no truck that I could see nearby. They did have radios, so I am guessing they were on duty. They had what appeared to be full uniforms clearly showing Sedona Fire Department.
You heard the story about a motorcycle that burned in front of Station 3 in the Village? The men on duty were out to breakfast. The riders entered the unsecured station and grabbed and extinguisher to put it out themselves.
What is your opinion on this?
*The photographs are not included in this article.