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Scottsdale Fire Department earns state approval for birth of ground ambulance

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With demand for emergency medical services increasing steadily, Scottsdale Fire officials tell the Digital Free Press, the city has been working through a lengthy process that is nearing completion (Photo by Arianna Grainey/DigitalFreePress)
Scottsdale Fire: Municipal ambulance to answer emergency calls January 2025
Staff Reports | Digital Free Press

The Arizona Department of Health Services has awarded a certificate of necessity to the Scottsdale Fire Department.

The state approval allows the municipal public safety entity to move forward with planning and preparing a ground ambulance service, which is expected to begin operating in January 2025.

Records show the Scottsdale Fire Department applied for its CON in March 2022 and was awarded the certification in February 2024.

With demand for emergency medical services increasing steadily, Scottsdale Fire officials tell the Digital Free Press, the city has been working through a lengthy process that is nearing completion — the result will be an improved level of emergency medical services.

Scottsdale Fire Chief Tom Shannon says the critical nature of the program, emphasizing the necessity for comprehensive “door-to-door” service.

Last year, a third-party ambulance service transported more than 18,000 Scottsdale residents and visitors to hospitals, highlighting the pressing need for an efficient municipal ambulance service to best serve people in Scottsdale.

The process for the department’s ambulance program began in March 2022.

Since then, the City Council approved about $3 million for long lead time start-up costs, including ordering new ambulances and equipment. Lengthy administrative submissions and review have occurred, with official approval and permits finally awarded this week.

With the certificate from DHS in hand, implementing the service will move forward, most importantly hiring and training new staff and firefighters to provide the service, officials at Scottsdale Fire say.


The new service will be rolled-out in phases.

Phase one will station three ambulances, each staffed by trained firefighter paramedics and emergency medical technicians or EMTs. Scottsdale Fire anticipates transporting its first patient by January 2025. Two additional phases are planned extend through the next 2-4 years. Once the program is fully operational, Scottsdale Fire will operate nine ambulances to cover the entire service area.

The Scottsdale Fire Department will continue to partner with third party ambulance services during the phase in period while responding to emergency medical calls.

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