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  • Mutual Aid

    I recently took a trip to upstate New York and, while there, noticed a few peculiar things that peaked my interest.

    While talking to some volunteers, I asked how mutual aid was utilized and received a sort of blank stare from the guys. It seemed to me from their explanation that fire departments around that area were somewhat territorial about their areas of responsibility. They cover their ground, other departments cover their districts. Help seemed neither required or desired.

    Now, I'm from Arizona and have done all my firefighting in AZ and TX. Here in AZ, mutual aide is both appreciated and always offered with the departments I've experienced. I've never seen any territorial disputes. Other than in TX, where the local city dept would take over any fire my volunteer dept would respond to first (if it was on the border), then graciously offer the salvage/overhaul to us when they were finished.

    How prevelant is the "keep to your own territory" attitude? Is this common in the east?

    MD

  • #2
    It's so fukin political in NY, it's . I started a thread some time ago called, "Mutual Aid - How political is it in your neck of the woods?". It's mostly about volly nonsense, and how ourselves are our own worst enemy!

    (let me check on the date I started it, and i'll edit this post w/ it)

    July 6th, 2001

    [ 09-06-2001: Message edited by: toneloc177 ]
    May God bless all the people and families who have lost
    their lives on 9-11-01, to those also lost on Flight 587, and to the rescuers who responded to both.

    "I'm not saying it's right, i'm just saying (the way it is)."

    FDNY-EMS - Still New York's Best!

    e-mail always accepted @
    [email protected]

    Comment


    • #3
      In my department, in Oregon, we have mutual aid and mutual responce agreemnets(dispatched at same time for confurmed fires-saves time for calling in extra help) with other departments. All in all it is for the benifit of the person(s) in need of help. Although we also have several departments in the same county that still are like the dog in the yard next door "This is mt yard so stay out". If you really think about it what is going to happen if you can't cover your town durring several incidents. I smell a LAWYER

      Comment


      • #4
        it is really political, just as it is in most other cities... One F.D., which is a combination department just refused to sign a mutual aid agreement with our city because it looks bad for their department....to rely on us for backup when a house is on fire because they have 3 people (1 on the truck, 2 volunteers) they will call another combination department which is another 4 miles away( at least)...and what happens if they dont have a duty crew???...its ridiculous!!! we are here to serve the public and politics still get involved....its boggles my mind
        stay safe
        Its not something you do,
        Its something you are.
        "Whether we bring the terrorists to justice, or we bring justice to the terroists...Justice WILL BE DONE"... President Bush
        Engineer
        Engine Co. # 1
        THESE ARE JUST MY OPINIONS AND OPINIONS ONLY!!!

        Comment


        • #5
          I was on a volly department in upstate eastern NY, and never saw a problem with the mutual aid system, although I don't doubt it one bit. I have heard of neighboring companies getting into fist fights over whose fire it is. Very, very sad. I thank God that we are on great terms with all of the fire departments in our area. We are called upon frequently, and wouldn't hesitate for a second to call for help if needed.
          Take care, stay safe, & stay low!

          Lt.

          Comment


          • #6
            NFPA 1720 provides:

            4.3 Intercommunity Organization.
            4.3.1* Mutual aid, automatic aid, and fire protection agreements shall be in writing and shall address such issues as liability for injuries and deaths, disability retirements, cost of service, authorization to respond, staffing, and equipment, including the resources to be made available and the designation of the incident commander.

            4.3.2 Procedures and training of personnel for all fire departments in mutual aid, automatic aid, and fire protection agreement plans shall be comprehensive to produce an effective fire force and to ensure uniform operations.

            4.3.3 Companies responding to mutual aid incidents shall be equipped with communications equipment that allow personnel to communicate with incident commander and division officers,
            group officers, or sector officers.

            A.4.3.1 Where appropriate, the mutual aid agreement should include automatic responses on first alarms (automatic aid). This concept contemplates joint response of designated apparatus and personnel on a predetermined running assignment basis.
            Mutual aid concepts should be considered on a regional basis. In an effective mutual aid arrangement, each fire department should
            retain reserves of personnel and apparatus. Traditionally and legally, overall command of the incident is vested with the senior
            officer of the jurisdiction experiencing the emergency.
            Some areas use consolidated dispatching to coordinate the response of fire companies to assist an outside fire department.
            The management of responses can be made easier by utilizing computerization, running cards, and other advance planning.

            Does this make a difference?
            The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!

            Comment


            • #7
              Varies widely from place to place.

              I come from northeastern CT where automatic aid, common radio frequencies (covering 40 towns or nearly 1/3rd of the entire state), common terminology, regional dispatching, etc has been standard since the 50s.
              IACOJ Canine Officer
              20/50

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              • #8
                Not really related to my thread, but I was wondering...


                What is the average consensus on subscription fire departments? A necessary evil? A good concept?

                MD

                Comment


                • #9
                  My opinion on subscription fire departments is go for it if that is the only way to get funding for equipment. I know there are places that do not want to provide money for any kind of help. I wonder if insurance companies will insure homes if there is no fire protection. kind of like that commercial on tv about that lady who checks on volcanos, but would not drive without insurance. donot insurance a house without a fire department. You may have a subscription department but, put out the fire if life is endangered.

                  Larry

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    a; Some Departments are so over staffed in Parts of upstate NY they will allmost never need help, from other dept's that have 400 firefighters and 6 trucks in a small town 5 or 6 sq. miles of nothing at all.

                    B. Pollickticcs Baaaddd don't Make me go there...

                    C. A lot of paid dept's are so short handed thanks to town manegers...I said don't let me go there...

                    D. We have some of our Paid Depts will never ever call a Vol. dept again, They rather lose a life then ask for help from a Volly

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I think it's a disgrace when chiefs or other officers just flat won't call for help. With the exception of major cities, there is not a department on the planet that can handle every fire alone. I've known of FD's in towns of 500,000+ calling for help from smaller cities; what the heck makes these knotheads think they're invincible?

                      If they are afraid of looking bad when they're short-handed or junk-equipped, maybe they SHOULD call some help. That's our most effective means of "evangelizing" our way of operating at fires--other FD's see the way we do it, they know our reputation, and they try to learn from us.

                      If some FD is understaffed or poorly equipped, maybe the next big fire where the mayor/co commissioners etc. are present should include a response from a better-run department.
                      “I am more than just a serious basketball fan. I am a life-long addict. I was addicted from birth, in fact, because I was born in Kentucky.”
                      ― Hunter S. Thompson

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Who has written mutual aid agreements?
                        The above is MY OPINION only and not that of anyone else. I am not representing any organization in making a post here!!!!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Our most immediate agreement is a 3-company structure response, effective in any of our jurisdictions, which includes a regular joint training schedule, quarterly joint officers' coordination meetings, structured joint responses, some ongoing equipment standardization, and other features. We're looking into ways to expand and improve it all the time, so that we don't become complacent.

                          We also have informal mutual aid arrangements with two other nearby companies outside of this. Furthermore, the 17 fire companies, 2 regional EMS squads and the respective municipalities in the west central district of our county have an umbrella aid agreement we all signed in 1968, which the County EMA is now trying to replicate county-wide.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Mutual aid is NOT about politics; it's about EGOS. You have a chief officer for a neighboring department who thinks that their department is just too damned good and don't need any help. Or they aren't good enough and don't want to be embarassed by another department. Or his girlfriend, sister, wife or mom ran off with the neighboring chief and he wouldn't call them for help on a bet. Where it becomes political is if the powers that be ALLOWS it. Our department has several written mutual aid agreements with the surrounding departments, but some of those won't call us even if a life depended on it. They don't want us stealing their thunder or worse yet, their out-of-district fee! We actually get numerous aid calls from departments in a neighboring county. In fact, we just created a MABAS district(#31), which as many of you know is a hybrid mutual aid system. We also have mutual aid agreements through a firefighter association with the whole idea that it is there for help. Chiefs can be some real buttholes sometimes. I should know. But not where life and property is on the line. Check it at the door and fight about it later, but take care of business. All of this "mine is bigger than yours" or "my dad is tougher than your dad" mentality has no place in the volunteer fire service. Mutual aid is poetry in motion and especially where water shuttles are needed. As long as everyone knows that the senior officer for the "stricken" fire department is the IC, there shouldn't be any problems....unless the IC slept through that class! But you can still assist in running the fireground without being a bully. Insurance companies endorse mutual aid systems. You may not get as many points on your ISO audit if they are too far away, but you know they will come if called and that is what matters. Other benefits of mutual aid is training. It gets everyone together and encourages training to a competent level that all departments in the mutual aid agreement agrees to. In our case, it is win-win because we partner with some outstanding career and volunteer departments. I would whole-heartedly recommend it to anyone who suffers from staffing problems-for us, that is during the day-or lacks specialty equipment for incidents such as vehicle extrication. The MABAS departments just completed surveys identifying their equipment and they will be referenced whenever someone is considering purchase of new equipment, so as not to duplicate equipment already in the system. More bang for the buck, if you will.
                            Yeah, there are some big dogs around me who don't want me ****ing in their yard and that makes me sad for the victims and angry that some public servants have such a cavalier attitude about human life, especially someone else's. But as we have always done, we will work to improve relationships with these departments, because the worst thing we could do is to pretend that there isn't a problem.
                            Of course, these are my opinions; I could be wrong.
                            Stay safe.
                            Visit www.iacoj.com
                            Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
                            RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Yea, chief reason, like I said . . . POLITICS!
                              May God bless all the people and families who have lost
                              their lives on 9-11-01, to those also lost on Flight 587, and to the rescuers who responded to both.

                              "I'm not saying it's right, i'm just saying (the way it is)."

                              FDNY-EMS - Still New York's Best!

                              e-mail always accepted @
                              [email protected]

                              Comment

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