Frequently Asked Questions

Some frequently asked questions and answers about the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority are listed below.

If you think of anything that’s not listed, please email us at or call (623) 544-5400.

 What is a Fire & Medical Authority?

A Fire & Medical Authority, via a Joint Powers Agreement, is an entity permitted under the laws of the state, whereby two or more public authorities may jointly exercise any power common to them.

 What is a Fire District?

A fire district is a political subdivision of the State, formed for the protection of persons and property in an area approved by the county.

 What is the difference between a fire "district" and a fire "department"?

Fire departments are part of a municipal government and are funded through the City’s general fund revenues which are derived from sales tax, state shared revenues, and property taxes. Fire departments are overseen by the same municipal council that oversees all City departments. A fire department generally only protects the area within the boundaries of their city.
Fire districts are special taxing districts and are independent of any city or county government. They provide service to multiple geographical areas which may include rural and/or unincorporated county areas and one or more municipalities. Fire districts range in size from all volunteer operations with budgets of less than $100,000 to large urban fire districts with budgets in the millions of dollars. Much of their funding is derived from personal property taxes collected within the fire district’s boundaries. Fire districts are overseen by a board of directors elected at large by the citizens of the district.

 Who is responsible for the governance of the Districts and Authority?

The Authority and Districts are governed by elected boards. Fire district board members are elected to alternating four-year terms so at least two are elected every two years. The Authority board members are selected by the District boards. The boards establish policy and approve annual budgets. 

 What services are provided by the Authority?

The Arizona Fire & Medical Authority provides fire and emergency medical services by career firefighters and state certified Emergency Medical Technicians and paramedics. The Authority has a full complement of fire, medical, and rescue equipment. The Authority also provides fire inspection and public education programs.

 How are the Authority / Districts Funded?

The Authority/Districts are organized under the laws of the state of Arizona. They generate a majority of their revenues from a secondary property tax assessed on all real property.

 Who sets the tax rates?

The tax rates are set each August by the County Board of Supervisors based on the direction of the Fire District / Authority Boards of Directors. The maximum tax rate allowed is $3.25 per $100 secondary assessed value.

 How do I pay for Authority services?

As special districts, each fire district's taxes are assessed with other property taxes, such as school taxes. They can either be incorporated into a mortgage payment or paid when billed, with your other taxes. The Fire Districts then transfer this funding to the Authority for the provision of emergency services.

 Does being within the Authority boundaries impact my property insurance rates?

While insurance rates vary, you may realize a decrease in your property insurance premiums when you annex into a District/Authority, especially if you currently do not have adequate fire protection. 

 Are District taxes deductible?

Yes, if you itemize your tax deductions.

 How do I contact the Authority?

In an emergency, the Authority can be reached by dialing 9-1-1. The Administrative Office phone number is (623) 544-5400. The Authority business hours are from 7 AM - 5 PM Monday - Thursday (excluding holidays).

 How do I annex my property into the District/Authority?

For an area to annex into the District/Authority, a simple majority of the voters, the property owners, and those representing a majority of the property value, must support the annexation. To begin the process of for assistance with the process, a property owner should contact Deputy Chief Kane Nixon at (623) 544-5400.

 Why does a fire engine respond on medical calls?

The answer to this question is simple; better service. When you or your loved one is having an emergency, it is important to receive care as quickly as possible. A fire engine responds with additional personnel to assist the paramedics on the ambulance in providing that care. All Authority fire engines are ALS (advanced life support) equipped and capable of providing advanced medical intervention and procedures. This includes pharmacological and cardiac treatment.

 Will you help me install my child car safety seat?

Assigned Authority staff have received special training to become Certified Car Safety Seat Technicians. The technicians will be happy to inspect or help install your child safety seat at no cost to you. Please contact the Administrative Offices at (623)544-5400 for more information or CLICK HERE to visit our calendar for inspection/installation dates.

 Do you trade patches?

The Authority does not currently sell or trade patches.

 How do I apply for a career with the Authority?

Applications will be accepted only during posted recruitment periods. Please call the Authority at (623) 544-5400 or visit the Career Opportunities for further information.

 Can I ride along with the emergency crews?

Yes, but you must be at least 18 years of age. You may ride with the fire/EMS crew between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and typically only once per year. Contact the Administrative Office at (623) 544-5400 for more information. 

 Can I tour an Authority Fire Station?

Yes, the Authority offers tours of each of our facilities. To schedule a tour, please follow this link. Questions? Please contact the Administrative Office at (623) 544-5400.

 How do I get a copy of a fire or EMS report?

To request reports visit the EMS and Fire reports section. 
EMS reports can only be requested by the persons involved in the incident, by the legal guardian (with proof of guardianship), by the parent or legal guardian of a minor, or by subpoena. A signed medical release form (signed by client or guardian) must accompany a written request by an attorney. 

Fire-related and other incident reports (non EMS) are public information with some restrictions. 

Processing time for the above reports is approximately 10 business days. 

For more information, please contact the Authority at (623)544-5400.

 How do I check my smoke alarm?

Each smoke alarm has a test button, usually in the center of the unit. Press and hold the test button for a few seconds.The alarm will sound and will automatically stop after a few more seconds. For reliability, smoke alarms should be replaced once they are 10 years old. If you need help or additional information, call the Authority Administrative Office at (623) 544-5400.

Dial 9-1-1

For All Emergencies
Official website for the Arizona Fire & Medical Authority, the Buckeye Valley Fire District, the North County Fire & Medical District, and the South County Fire & Medical District.
Phone: (623) 544-5400 | Email:
18818 N. Spanish Garden Drive, Sun City West, Arizona 85375