What is annexation?
Annexation is the process used to add a property into the Northwest Fire District’s jurisdiction. This allows the District to provide you with response and preventative services. The annexation process requires that the property being added is adjacent to the Fire District’s current boundaries. Fire districts are special taxing districts independent of any city or county government. As such, the Northwest Fire District’s jurisdiction includes service areas within two towns, in suburban neighborhoods, rural and unincorporated areas in Pima County.
Why should you consider annexation into the Northwest Fire District?
The mission of the Northwest Fire District is to save lives, protect property and care for our community. We’d like to ensure these services are available for you.
Northwest Fire was recently awarded a Certificate of Necessity (CON) by the Arizona Department of Health Services to provide advanced life support (ALS) ambulance transportation for the most injured or ill patients in the District. Expanding our services to include ambulance transportation means you will receive a quick response for medical emergencies and the same paramedics who start your care will continue treatment until you’re assisted by doctors at a hospital. This expanded service is available now and reflects our philosophy of continuously improving our services for our residents.
We stand ready to defend homes, businesses, and property from a variety of hazards. Our responders receive consistent and specialized training that includes technical rescue and hazardous materials in addition to fire suppression and incident command. We also integrate technology where it makes sense into our operations. We continually assess the risks in our community and prepare our responses to match them from ten strategically placed fire stations throughout the District.
Caring for our Community
Although we’re always prepared to respond, it’s our primary goal to prevent bad things from happening in our District in the first place. Our Prevention and Safety team ensures buildings are in line with the fire code to keep those inside safe. We work tirelessly to educate our community on ways to stay safe through outreach and information programs. We also help families adjust after a tragic incident through the good work of our Community Assistance Program.
What is the annexation process?
Sign a letter that will be provided by the NWFD annexation team. This letter will either need to be notarized by one of our in-house notaries or another notary of your choosing.
After the original, notarized letter has been received by our annexation team, the Northwest Fire District annexation process begins. A resolution, along with additional documents (map, property description, etc.), will be presented at the following scheduled Governing Board meeting. After approval, the annexation packet will be forwarded to 9-1-1 dispatch center and the Recorder’s Office. The newly annexed property’s address is entered into the 911 system and service typically begins within 30 days.
Depending on the time frame of when an annexation is entered onto the tax rolls, you may not see an impact on your property tax bill for up to 2 years.
How do I calculate my annual taxes for emergency services?
STEP 1: First, go online to www.asr.pima.gov and search for your property’s Limited Assessed amount by entering your name, address or parcel number in the site’s Quick Search tile.
STEP 2: Divide the Limited Assessed amount by 100 yielding the Net Taxable Amount.
STEP 3: Multiply the Net Taxable Amount by the District’s current combined Operations and Bonds tax rate of $2.9138* (the Northwest Fire District tax rate for the 2015-2016 tax year) to obtain the Annual taxes due to the District for your specific property.
*Note: The current Operations rate is $2.6086 and the Bonds rate is $0.3052. Once the Bonds are paid in full, the total tax rate will be reduced to the current Operations tax rate only.
Example – using a single family residential property in the Town of Marana
Limited Assessed: $14,101 / 100 = $141
Annual Taxes Due to the District: $141 * 2.9138 = $410.87
What is the Fire District Assistance Tax, or FDAT, which appears on my annual property tax bill? Does it include fire protection?
The Fire District Assistance Tax (or FDAT), which appears on your annual property tax bill, can be a source of confusion when it comes to receiving emergency services at your address. Property owners often assume that by paying an FDAT, they have fire and emergency medical service protection at their property. This assumption, however, is inaccurate. The FDAT provides for rescue services on any highway, street, or roadway within the State of Arizona. FDAT revenues are shared by all Arizona fire districts to assist with the cost of emergency rescue services outside established fire district boundaries. An FDAT fee is NOT the same as annexing into a fire district to receive emergency and preventative services at your property. These are two separate line items on your annual tax bill for two distinctly different types of emergency service responses.
What is the difference between a fire “district” and a fire “department?”
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 (Arizona Revised Statues – Title 48- Special Taxing Districts). Arizona fire districts are governed by three or five-member boards, based on the population of the district, and elected at large by the registered voters of the district. Board members are elected to alternating four-year terms. Fire districts exist solely to address fire and medical emergency response as well as prevention programs.
Fire departments are part of a municipal government and are funded through the city’s general fund revenues derived from sales tax, state shared revenues, and property taxes. They are overseen by the same municipal council that oversees all city departments; thus subject to budget appropriations potentially impacted by other department needs not specific to fire and medical emergency response, or prevention programs.
How fast will help arrive?
Time is of the essence in an emergency. The closer a fire station is to your home, the faster help will arrive. In fact, it’s the single most critical factor in a positive outcome for a medical, rescue or fire emergency.
NWFD’s stations are strategically located throughout the District to ensure help arrives as quickly as possible. The location of each fire station is based on an assessment of our community’s specific risks, call loads and types, and areas that offer rapid responses to handle these identified risks. This is an ongoing assessment
as part of our accreditation process through the Commission of Fire Accreditation International.
What is the benefit of annexing into a Fire District?
Ratings range on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best rating. A lower ISO rating is achieved by upgrading a community’s fire prevention and suppression capabilities, specifically in the categories of dispatch, water supply, and fire suppression. In short, better prevention efforts and response capabilities can lower insurance premiums. NWFD’s current ISO rating is a split rating of 2/2y. The first number (2) refers to the classification of properties within 5 road miles of a fire station and 1,000 feet of a hydrant. The second number (2y) refers to properties within 5 road miles of a fire station but beyond 1,000 feet of a hydrant. For properties that fit the second classification, NWFD utilizes water tenders which carry close to 3,000 gallons of water, and/or may deploy a water shuttle operation requiring multiple water tenders. In order to qualify for this rating, NWFD firefighters work very hard in training to achieve the standards required by ISO. There are approximately 30,000 fire departments in the country with an ISO rating, less than 3% of which are rated as a 2 or lower.
For more information regarding the ISO Public Protection Program, go to www.isomitigation.com.
What is the benefit of having an accredited service provider?
Accreditation means a fire and EMS service provider measures, monitors, and continually works to benchmark and improve performance. Organizational standards are set, verified by an independent evaluation team, and these standards must be kept to maintain its accredited status.
NWFD was first accredited in 2007. It was re-accredited 5 years later in 2012. NWFD is one of about 200 agencies nationwide that have earned its accreditation and one of two accredited fire/EMS agencies in Southern Arizona.
Will personnel with advanced pre-hospital training respond if I need it?
There are two basic levels of pre-hospital medical personnel who respond in an emergency: Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) provide basic life support and Paramedics provide a higher level of care through advanced life support. In an emergency, you want someone capable of providing advanced life support and you need them to arrive quickly to begin and continue treatment en route to the hospital.
At the Northwest Fire District, every engine, ladder and rescue unit in the District has a paramedic onboard to ensure the highest level of medical care with the first arriving emergency unit. Similar to the location of our fire stations, response units are placed based on an assessment of our community’s risks, call loads, and types. The goal is to respond quickly and at the level of care each call requires for the best outcome for our patients.
What resources will be sent to me in an emergency?
Agencies have different standards on how many units and responders are needed to adequately handle an emergency.
In line with the National Fire Protection Agency’s recommendations, NWFD staffs fire suppression vehicles with four people. Per the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recommendations, we have a pre-determined number of units and responders dispatched to specific calls as published in our Standards of Cover. Visit northwestfire.org to review the latest version of this document.
What specialized training or additional programs are available?
Different fire districts provide a variety of programs and services to the community they serve. It’s important to know what resources are available through a fire district. In addition to fire/medical responses and transports, NWFD also operates dedicated Hazardous Materials and Technical Rescue teams. Non-emergency services include smoke detector battery replacement, fall assist, and a Community Assistance Program to aid families after a traumatic event (fire or medically-related). The Northwest Fire District also offers several fire prevention services including code enforcement and safety education classes
on a variety of topics from babysitting basics to hands-only CPR. Specific classes are available at northwestfire.org for review at any time.
How committed is the agency to the safety of our neighborhood and our community as a whole?
Beyond simply responding within a community, fire districts can be integrated into local neighborhoods, schools, businesses, and civic organizations.
NWFD is home to forward-looking fire prevention programs, progressive evidence-based pre-hospital medical protocols, and award-winning public education programs that contribute to our community’s safety and well-being. We have a three part mission – to save lives, protect property, and care for our community. We take our mission seriously and continually innovate the many ways in which we care for our community.