New San Luis fire chief eyes east­side plans

Yuma Sun - - NEWS - BY CE­SAR NEYOY BAJO EL SOL

SAN LUIS, Ariz. — As one of his first tasks as this city’s fire chief, An­gel Ramirez is fo­cus­ing on the fu­ture pro­tec­tion of res­i­dents of the east side of San Luis

Ramirez, named re­cently as fire chief by the San Luis City Coun­cil, is in­volved in plan­ning for the con­struc­tion of a fire and po­lice depart­ment sub­sta­tion to serve an area where the city’s res­i­den­tial growth is be­ing chan­neled.

A site has al­ready been picked out for the sub­sta­tion near San Luis II, the city’s bor­der cross­ing for com­mer­cial truck travel be­tween the United States and Mex­ico site. Ramirez said prepa­ra­tions are al­ready un­der­way for con­struc­tion ex­pected to be­gin later this year.

Ramirez, 39, had been serv­ing as act­ing head of the San Luis Fire Depart­ment since Fe­bru­ary, when then-Chief Hank Green re­tired. On Wed­nes­day, the coun­cil awarded him the post full time un­der a twoyear con­tract that will pay him $102,500 an­nu­ally.

He takes the helm of a depart­ment with 36 em­ploy­ees, among them 24 cer­ti­fied as paramedics and 16 and haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als tech­ni­cians.

Ramirez has served his en­tire firefighting ca­reer in San Luis, join­ing the city fire depart­ment in 2004 as a fire­fighter and ris­ing through the ranks to cap­tain and then as­sis­tant chief, sec­ond in com­mand af­ter Green.

“I am very ex­cited. These last 11 months have been a strug­gle, but I came in well­pre­pared, thanks to (Green) help­ing me, just as all the su­per­vi­sors have done.”

At the time Ramirez joined the depart­ment, it had no am­bu­lance of its own, in­stead con­tract­ing with the Somer­ton/Co­co­pah Fire Depart­ment or Ru­ral/Metro to pro­vide one for San Luis res­i­dents who needed to be rushed to the hos­pi­tal.

Later, hav­ing moved into a management po­si­tion, Ramirez over­saw the depart­ment ap­pli­ca­tion to the state for a per­mit to op­er­ate its own am­bu­lance ser­vice. The city re­ceived the per­mit in 2017 and now has two am­bu­lances.

“That was a big learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for me, one guided by Chief Green,” Ramirez said. “It was a three-year pro­ject, and it was done at a time when the state wasn’t giv­ing out many of those per­mits, and most that were given out were go­ing to pri­vate de­part­ments.”

Ramirez says it is in the process of ac­quir­ing a third am­bu­lance that will be as­signed to the east­side sub­sta­tion now in the plan­ning stage.

Apart from open­ing the new sub­sta­tion, an­other of Ramirez’s goals is to boost the fire depart­ment’s rat­ing with the In­ter­na­tional Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Stan­dard­iza­tion (ISO) from Class 3 to Class 2 over the next three years. The im­prove rat­ing, he said, would mean lower in­sur­ance rates for home­own­ers.

Apart from 15 years of ex­pe­ri­ence with the depart­ment, Ramirez has a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in in­ter­dis­ci­pli­nary stud­ies from Ari­zona State Univer­sity, is cer­ti­fied through the univer­sity as a pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tor, and is a grad­u­ate of the Ari­zona Fire Chiefs As­so­ci­a­tion’s train­ing acad­emy, with cer­ti­fi­ca­tions as a para­medic and haz­ardous ma­te­ri­als tech­ni­cian.

PHOTO BY CE­SAR NEYOY/BAJO EL SOL

AN­GEL RAMIREZ HAS BEEN named as the new fire chief in San Luis, Ariz.

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