|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2007)|
|Products||Ambulance, Fire Protection, Security Services, Emergency Communications|
|Revenue||$500 million USD (2008)|
Rural/Metro Corporation is an American for-profit emergency services organization, providing emergency medical transportation, non-emergency general medical transportation, fire protection services, and emergency-related training services to private and commercial enterprises. The company is the second-largest emergency services organization in the United States, operating in more than 400 communities across 21 states. Rural/Metro employs over 8,000 people and answers 1.5 million calls for service yearly. Rural/Metro also owns Southwest Ambulance of Arizona. Rural/Metro itself is owned by Warburg Pincus.
The company was founded by Lou Witzeman, a newspaper reporter, after he witnessed a house fire near his home just outside the city limits of Phoenix, Arizona in 1948. There was no fire department established for the area. Witzeman felt something had to be done, went and purchased a fire engine and proceeded to go door to door asking residents to subscribe to the new fire service by paying an annual membership fee (in lieu of taxes). This was the origin of the Rural Fire Department, later renamed Rural/Metro Fire Department. In the 1980's, the company expanded into ambulance service. Rural/Metro began listing shares in 1993 on the NASDAQ exchange under the stock symbol RURL.
Emergency Medical Services
In 1969, Rural/Metro began offering ambulance service to customers by placing an ambulance at its fire station in the unincorporated Cave Creek, Arizona. Rural/Metro continues to operate fire based and EMS based ambulance services.
Many communities are covered under a master contract in which Rural/Metro is selected as the sole provider for fire services, or 911 ambulance services for a jurisdiction. Additionally, Rural/Metro offers other transport services in areas in which they are not the primary EMS provider. Rural/Metro currently offers ambulance services in 450 communities across 20 states.
Fire Protection Services
Rural/Metro offers private fire protection services to communities in the United States on fee or subscription basis. The company has traditionally offered services in locations in which there are no other fire departments operating. Many of these locations contract directly with individuals, charging an annual fee to people who choose to subscribe. Rural/Metro Fire Department serves under a master contract in a handful of communities and receives operating funds directly from the community (tax based, yet privately provided). Rural/Metro Fire Department provides services to nonsubscribers in these communities, billing the property owner after the incident to recoup costs associated with the emergency.
The fire response received criticism for billing practices for fire services. In one instance, it billed a homeowner despite having arrived after publicly funded firefighters had already begun firefighting operations. The homeowner had not approved the Rural/Metro operations, and was unaware that they offered subscription services in the area.
- Rural/Metro Corporation website
- Wirz, Matt; Dezember, Ryan (July 26, 2013). "A Buyout, Then 911 Call on the Debt" (paper). The Wall Street Journal. pp. C1, C2. Retrieved Nov. 11, 2013.
- ""Rural/Metro files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy"". MyFoxBoston.com. Aug. 4, 2013. Retrieved 11 November, 2013.
- Warburg Buys Rural/Metro
- "Form 8-K". EDGAR. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. July 1, 2011. Item 3.01. Commission File Number 0-22056. Retrieved July 26, 2013.
- http://www.ruralmetro.com/our-services/emergency-ambulance.html Rural/Metro Ambulance Services
- http://www.ruralmetro.com/our-services/community-fire-protection.html Rural/Metro Community Fire Protection
- https://www.ruralmetrofire.com/subscriptions/renew-fire-subscription.html Rural/Metro Fire Department Subscription Information
- Monier, Jill (5 November, 2013). "Surprise home burns; Rural Metro bills owner almost $20k". Retrieved 11 November, 2013.
- Lohr, David (Nov 8, 2013). "Arizona Firefighters Charge Family Nearly $20,000 After Home Burns Down". Huffington Post. Retrieved Nov 11, 2013.