“It’s a shared mission.” Payson Fire Chief, David Staub, explained how the department’s relationship is with Mogollon Health Alliance. Both organizations desire what’s best for the community’s health and wellness, which is not a new revelation. Payson Fire and the nonprofit have been working together for years to better train the department and better train the community.

Mogollon Health Alliance has supplied a $50,000 grant to pay for any firefighter or EMT in the Rim Country to train to become a paramedic. This is important because it creates the opportunity to have more highly qualified professionals in the local area who can provide the top level of prehospital care. However, to do this requires an immense amount of training to perform these complex procedures. Thousands of hours go into these training sessions that have almost doubled in completion time over the past few decades. Not to mention the costs that have mounted to do so.

In addition to extended training of our life-saving professionals, MHA and the Payson Fire Department continue to share the mission by training the community to become first responders. This is done through a program that has real-world paramedics teach community CPR classes. Having the fire department conduct these sessions has elicited a much better response from the people being trained. With more effective training comes more effective community members in these situations. Not only has this been noted by several long-standing people within our community, but Staub agreed that he had observed it frequently in his career. To him, it’s all positive, “...a positive for the fire department, a positive for the people, and a positive for MHA who supports the effort.”

This community class is a lot more than CPR, though. The citizens learn what Staub referred to as “front line” skills to identify an incident, provide early access to care, perform CPR, and teach how to administer an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). According to the American Heart Association, “An AED can check a person’s heart rhythm. It can recognize a rhythm that requires a shock. And it can advise the rescuer when a shock is needed. The AED uses voice prompts, lights, and text messages to tell the rescuer the steps. AEDs are very accurate and easy to use. With training, anyone can learn to operate an AED safely.”

With access to the knowledge, and the proper people leading in this group effort, Chief Staub assured, “Save ratios go way up in communities that do high volume CPR training and deploy public access defibrillators.” MHA and the local fire departments have provided practical training and supplied over 50 AED units throughout Northern Gila County and counting...

“It’s our privilege to serve the community,” defined Jennifer Smith, as Mogollon Health Alliance continues its mission to enhance the education and wellness of Rim Country.

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