In Sahuarita, Rural/Metro firefighters play an important role in helping to keep the community safe and secure. Captain John Sims shared his experiences with Rural/Metro, working in Sahuarita, and what it means to him to be able to serve and protect the community.
1. How long have you been with Rural/Metro and in your role? What made you want to choose this career?
I have been in Emergency services for over 26 years in very different geographic areas. I started with Rural/Metro very soon after finishing an EMT course at Pima College back in 1990. I worked full time for the Rural/Metro Ambulance and for the first 6 years finished Paramedic school at TMC and cross trained as a Firefighter.
In September of 1996 I enlisted in the US Coast Guard. My first duty station out of Boot Camp was the USCG Cutter Storis based in Kodiak, AK. I spent 2 years doing Bering Sea and Gulf of Alaska Patrols. My last 2 years in the CG I was in Portsmouth, NH doing costal Search and Rescue and Law Enforcement. During my time in NH, I also volunteered with the New Castle Volunteer Fire Department as well as a Paramedic for the York Volunteer Ambulance in York Maine. Upon leaving the CG I returned to Tucson and was rehired back to RM as a Firefighter/Paramedic.
I did take one more little sabbatical and took a contract as a Captain for the McMurdo Fire Department in Antarctica for the 2003-2004 summer season. While in Antarctica I was also Paramedic and Instructor for the Joint Antarctic Search and Rescue Team (JSART). The JSART was an international SAR group with US and New Zealand personal stationed on Ross Island. I re-returned to Rural/Metro Fire Department around April of 2004 and have been working around the Pima County operations ever since.
Shortly after returning I was able to promote to Captain and have held that position for the last 12 years. I rotated down to the Sahuarita area about 2011 and have been the A-Shift Captain for Engine 82 ever since.
For about the last year I have been working as a responder and instructor for a robotic lift buoy with Sahuarita based Hydronalix. We recently responded to Greece to bring the robotic technology to the Greek Coast Guard and Red Cross to assist in the refugee crisis on the island of Lesvos.
I have also been a member of several of the Town of Sahuarita’s Emergency Management committees and look forward to continue contributing to the health and welfare of the residents of Sahuarita.
2. What is the most rewarding part about what you do?
The most rewarding part of my job is the trust that the community puts in us to be one of the default problem solvers for the community. I am proud to be a member of the first organization that people think to call to solve many of the community or individuals issues. From snake removal, smoke detectors chirping to the larger problems of fire and medical emergencies. It is a real credit to the fire service that we are trusted to be the go-to people for problems and emergencies.
3 find out here. What does it mean to you to be able to protect and serve the residents of Sahuarita?
Sahuarita is a unique and special place in Southern Arizona. There is a great deal of community cohesiveness and friendship that I had not experienced in the other areas that I have worked. In many other communities, neighbors had no clue who was living next door let alone assist a neighbor in distress. We routinely see neighbor helping neighbor and showing community involvement. I enjoy working here and every shift look forward to helping the residents of Sahuarita in whatever way I can.