Fire Buyer catches up exclusively with Paul Luizzi, Fire Chief for the City of Goodyear Fire Department to explore the biggest challenges
Could you introduce yourself and what you do?
My name is Paul Luizzi, I am the Fire Chief for the City of Goodyear Fire Department. I have been with the City for 16 years and this year I have served as the Fire Chief for 10 years.
How did you begin your journey in the fire industry?
I was born and raised in Massachusetts and originally set out on the EMS path. I was an EMT and then a Paramedic for 5 years prior to joining the Stoughton Fire Department in May 1995. I was hired as the first firefighter/paramedic for the department. I had the unique opportunity to develop an Advanced Life Support program which included upgrading the department to a paramedic transport ambulance service. I served the department for 10 years before leaving to run a hospital-based paramedic service in New Hampshire. I returned to the fire service in 2007 as the first EMS Battalion Chief for the Goodyear fire department.
What does your everyday routine look like as Fire Chief?
It is anything but routine, each day is different. The one thing that is routine is my approach to each day. I always start my day with a workout of some type, lots of water and a good breakfast to start the day off right. Once I get to the office my calendar really runs my day. Because I am a director in the city, there are other citywide requirements that I have such as attending our city council meeting almost every Monday night, our citywide leadership team meeting each Tuesday morning, I also sit on a few committees for the city and I am part of the mentoring program. Otherwise, we have operational, strategy and budget meetings that fill up the week and then whatever regional obligations that I have as a Fire Chief. One of my favourite core values is adaptability and I tend to exercise that core value on a weekly basis. Any time that you think you have a plan going into the week you quickly realise that priorities are shifting and you need to be adaptable to those priorities.
Goodyear averages only ten inches of rainfall a year. How do you combat a natural shortage of water when fighting fires?
Yes, we live in a desert environment, which gives us an abundance of sunshine each day. During the summer we tend to get rain during monsoon season which runs from end of June until end of September. During this time, we get the opportunity to use our swift water rescue skills. Many of the washes will run extensively during this time and when they do, they sometimes overrun the low-lying areas and cars and people can get trapped in those rapidly changing conditions.
We also get some rain during the winter months, in fact last night we had almost an inch of rain that fell in about 20 minutes. We have plenty of water for fire protection. We get our water from several wells around the city and from our surface water facility. In Goodyear, our citizens are very efficient with their water usage and use only about 85 gallons per day/per person. So, we actually never worry about our water for fire protection.
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