Fire Department Mutual Aid Agreements
September 20, 2021
Large municipalities usually have sufficient resources for fire and rescue services to deal with large local incidents. However, in the event of multiple alarm fires, mass accidents (MCIs) or major incidents of hazardous substances (Hazmat), this municipality may use resources from surrounding cities, either to respond directly to the site of the incident, or to set up in its fire and EMS stations and respond to other incidents in that city or city when local crews are dealing with a long-term incident. If a municipality`s resources are active and are unable to respond to a simultaneous service call, a neighboring municipality can be sent. For larger departments, one solution to always be the donor, and hardly the recipient of automatic aid, is to agree in advance that no more than two units will automatically react to an incident in a neighboring municipality and thus maintain a sufficient number of operating stations to cover your own jurisdiction. Maintaining a sufficient number of staff and equipment for most other emergencies generally avoids negative effects on your own response time for citizen services within their own jurisdiction. Mutual aid can also go beyond the local reaction. Several States have national systems of mutual assistance. National mobilization programs in Washington and Oregon are examples. MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System) is a regional mutual assistance system based in Illinois and 1500 member fire divisions in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan and Missouri. No one needs to recall the price of today`s fire extinguishers. A new shooting scale can easily cost between $800,000 and $1,200,000 depending on the scope and options.
A rescue device may not cost as much as an antenna, but considerable investments are being made in the training and expertise of the personnel of these companies so that they can perform the specific tasks assigned to these special units. The dichotomy for the boss, who provides mutual assistance/automatic assistance, is that without their services, someone can die in a nearby community in a fire or medical emergency aggravated by a delay in the emergency response. I have also seen some innovative solutions to the problem of automatic staffing. Two neighboring divisions of equal size had staff reductions of three firefighters and paramedics who remained on duty per day in each department. The mayors and councils of both cities strongly opposed the merger of the two departments, so the fire chiefs agreed on a consolidation of services that made sense. Chief Robert R. Rielage, General Manager, EFO, FIFireE, is the former Marshal of the Ohio Fire and has been Chief Officer in several departments for more than 30 years. A graduate of Harvard University`s Kennedy School`s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government, Rielage earned a master`s degree in public administration from Norwich University and is past president of the Institution of Fire Engineers – USA.
He has worked as an expert, program coordinator, and evaluator and has collaborated with national organizations such as FEMA, USFA, and the National Fire Academy. Rielage was a member of the NFPA 1250 and NFPA 1201 commissions. In 2019, he received the Ohio Service Service Award. Rielage is currently working on two books: “On Fire Service Leadership” and “A Practical Guide for Families Dealing with a Fire or Police LODD”. Log in to Rielage by email. On the other hand, the boss who provides mutual assistance suspends resources, reduces the number of employees available for response in his jurisdiction, and may increase the response time to an emergency in his own jurisdiction without adequate compensation, since the neighboring secondment is not available to respond. . . .