Tempe rolls out its own 911 ambulance service

City will continue to expand fleet in next five years

The next time you hear sirens in the neighborhood, it might just be one of two new ambulances the city of
Tempe rolled out Oct. 30. That’s because the city has begun to assume 911 ambulance service from a
private company. “More than 80 percent of emergency calls we see are medical in nature, so it makes sense that Tempe Fire Medical Rescue oversees the physical assets and the employees— who will train and work alongside
other Tempe first responders,” said Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Chief Greg Ruiz.
Within five years, the department plans to have a fleet of ambulances staffed by teams of non-sworn paramedics and emergency medical technicians but will continue an arrangement for backup emergency services with Professional Medical Transport.
Tempe 911 Ambulance has a longterm goal to be fiscally self-sustaining through its service fees. Those fees are set by the Arizona Department of Health Services through its Arizona Ground Ambulance Service rate schedule and
are the same as were those in the contracted service.
The first-year’s operational cost is estimated at $1,971,773, which includes three equipped ambulances,
personnel and supplies.
Patients receiving ambulance service by the Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department will see a bill from
Tempe Fire Medical Rescue.
Otherwise, a patient can expect to receive a bill from whatever private ambulance company provided the
service in situations where city ambulances are otherwise assigned.
The changeover began in 2016 when the Tempe City Council approved a renewable one-year
contract to purchase ambulances for the program.
In 2017, a council-approved budget allowed for non-sworn positions to be hired for the ambulance service.