House fire

Photo courtesy of Fountain Hills Rural/Metro Fire Department

Fountain Hills Crisis Response Team is looking for volunteers.

The organization, under the umbrella of Fountain Hills Fire Department, was created to make an impact on people’s lives during an emergency.

Crisis Response Team members are trained volunteers dedicated to providing immediate crisis intervention and on-scene emotional support during and after a traumatic event.

There currently are some 30 volunteers, but one of the team leads, Viree Byrne, said more are needed.

“We have people from all walks of life, from different backgrounds, with different experience,” she said.

She said volunteers need not have experience in a medical field or have a first responder background.

“The training is very thorough, and regardless of your experience, you will learn how to help in these crisis situations,” Byrne said.

Volunteers may be asked to help out at the scene of a sudden death, traffic accident, structure fire or other incidents as requested.

At the crisis scene a two-person team will focus on the emotional and social needs of an individual or family while the emergency personnel attend to their specific assignments.

Crisis calls can range from minutes to hours depending on the specific needs of the individual or family. Volunteers must pass a background check and must live in Fountain Hills. Winter visitors are welcome to participate.

The organization asks volunteers to commit to either two, 24-hour shifts or four, 12-hour shifts per month.

“There are many, many days that we don’t get any calls,” Byrne said. “But a person signs up for the shifts just in case.”

Each call is performed by a two-person team. Volunteers are contacted by a dispatcher, and they go to an incident together. Fire personnel also assist with the crisis team.

Those interested in the program should contact town Volunteer Coordinator Kimberly Wickland at kwickland@fh.az.gov or 480-816-5108, or call Crisis Team Coordinator Tom Aiello at 480-482-9098.