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  1. #1
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    Default Calls into Canada?

    Any of you guys that live along the northern US/Canadian border, and have stations near the border, say if there was a structure fire or MVA right across the border in Canada or perhaps maybe several miles in, are you called to respond to it? Or more so, are you allowed to go into Canada at all for mutual aid? Same goes for our Canadian brothers. Do you run mutual aid into the states?


  2. #2
    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    I know that years ago, Niagara Falls NY and Niagara Falls Canada had a mutual aid agreement......I also have heard of agreements in other areas of NY, as well as other states.
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    I know some guys in the northern part of NY that have mutual aid agreements with their Canadian neighbors.

    Not sure on the exact procedure at the border, but I know it is expedited for obvious reasons.

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    Not long ago, a Department (Can't remember what side of the boarder) was responding to a structure fire was stopped at at boarder by crossing agents who demanded proof of citizenship from the responders, they were detained 15 minutes before finally being allowed to proceed.

    Did I mention lights and sirens!?!

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    Forum Member FWDbuff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianFyrTrks View Post
    Not long ago, a Department (Can't remember what side of the boarder) was responding to a structure fire was stopped at at boarder by crossing agents who demanded proof of citizenship from the responders, they were detained 15 minutes before finally being allowed to proceed.

    Did I mention lights and sirens!?!
    Yes I heard this one also, in addition I also heard that the same agent found himself looking for a new job immediately afterwards.
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  6. #6
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    It's actually fairly common, at least in Ontario and Quebec. I'm not sure about other provinces.

    I believe Windsor and Detroit have an MA agreement, I know Sarnia and Port Huron, MI do as well.

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    Forum Member PNEFD23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianFyrTrks View Post
    Not long ago, a Department (Can't remember what side of the boarder) was responding to a structure fire was stopped at at boarder by crossing agents who demanded proof of citizenship from the responders, they were detained 15 minutes before finally being allowed to proceed.

    Did I mention lights and sirens!?!
    I believe that was a Quebec Dept. responding to a MA request with a US Dept. that they had an agreement with since the 1950's.

    EMS from Windsor, Ont. also had the same thing happen to them last year while rushing a cardiac patient to Detroit for an emergency op that they were set up and waiting for. US customs went as far as to open up the bus and demand ID from the patient, despite the fact the poor guy coded 3 times en route to the border.

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    With the events in Mumbai, I think they should stop you for a second. Everyone should have Fire Dept photo ID. In mumbai, terrorists left in ambulances. Show your IDs quick, let em math the face and go. Takes 45 seconds.

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    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    There is a local dept out her that has a mutual aid agreement with an American neighbor, and they cross the border both ways.

    The Chief on the Canadian side is a senior customs supervisor, so I think that eliminates the BS of stopping and checking all apparatus.
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    i would imagine if you had a mutual aid agreement, dispatch would be able to let us customs or border agents know they are coming. a simple 30 second stop to check id's and go.

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    Somewhere in here there is a thread on this topic. Specifically two things: 1) questions about a US driver who had some "problems" with the law and was technically prohibited from crossing the board; would he be allowed to bring a truck across for a MA call. 2) General problems with border crossings during a MA call; specifically is/should there a need to have passports etc on hand.

    The thread is probably close to two years old now, I think.
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    This smacks to me of a perfect oppertunity to do some pre-planning and coordinated training with the border patrol folks. If they know who you are and what to expect if notified of a call, then it should be a lot easier to expedite the process. If you don't do any of this, can you really fault an agent doing what he is supposed to do - protect the border.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by CanadianFyrTrks View Post
    Not long ago, a Department (Can't remember what side of the boarder) was responding to a structure fire was stopped at at boarder by crossing agents who demanded proof of citizenship from the responders, they were detained 15 minutes before finally being allowed to proceed.

    Did I mention lights and sirens!?!
    I recall another thread recently where a fireman was complaining about the routine security procedures he had to go through while operating in a correctional facility. There seems to be alot of guys on these forum sites who seem to think our gear, uniforms and vehicles grant us some kind of special security clearance to every facilty in the world. I mean maybe next time I take a trip on an airplane I'll just wear my work duty uniform. I'm sure the TSA will let me walk right around the line and metal detector. Think about the amount of used fire, police and ems vehicle for sale out there. Anyone can buy a used rig throw some sirens and lights on it from the Galls catalogue and drive right over the border. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has an important job to do, just like us and if that requires them to bust our chops for a few minutes so Al Queda FD or MS 13 FD cant cross the border lights and sirens right after us then so be it. If anything it seems like this department did a poor job of pre-planning with border patrol in their response area.
    P.S. I'm just guessing 99% of areas that rely on units crossing international borders for mutual aid are probably extremely remote and it is probably a surround and drown operation. In these cases an extra 5 minutes isnt going to make or break an operation.

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    For comparison, i have stories from 2 other parts of the world.

    In Kosovo, KFOR have checkpoints here and there, some temporal, some permanent. Primarily to check for weapon smugglers, but also for any other criminal activity. Local medical vehicles sometimes tried to get around by running the siren and lights when approaching the checkpoint. Were they ever let trough without check? No way! Did they have contraband? - Usually not, they just wanted to get around quicker. But the moment anyone would have started to let them pass, that same moment they would have been the new way to deliver weapons to the rival groups and be a new tool for criminal activity.

    In Finland, co-operation with Sweden and Norway is only hampered by linguistics differences and different hose couplings. Language courses and adapters take care of those problems. Emergency vehicles can cross the border without even having to slow down, right past the queue. Works great!

  15. #15
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    Default Water Border

    It should be pretty easy to have a meeting of the minds between both departments and both customs to arange somthing. We assist and have gone across the border to perform water rescues. We have had our brothers to the North come South to assist us.

    The Military vessels between the two countries go back and forth and do not clear Customs, they have free reign to cross stay and return without even checking in.

    We are very lucky to have the Customs people we do here and they are very good at letting us fast track people who have not cleared Customs during medical calls.

  16. #16
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    About 4 or 5 years back, Buffalo Fire responded to Port Colburne, ONT (10 or 15 mi into Canada) for an industrial accident aboard a ship. They first called Toronto, but when they heard the eta for their Heavy Rescue, they called Buffalo. Now Buffalo and some canuck fire departments have mutual aid agreements (to aid the canucks) and I know that certain BFD apparatus (maybe just chiefs) have the capability to talk to the canadian depts via portable radios.

    From Wikipedia:
    On August 19, 2004, a young man in Port Colborne was cutting anchor chain in the hold of a large ship when he became entrapped. The decision was made to call a Heavy Rescue Company in to assist. When the Port Colborne firefighters were told Toronto Fire's HUSAR Unit would take over two hours to reach them, the call to Buffalo was made. Within 35 minutes of the initial call for assistance, Rescue 1, HazMat 1, and B-41 were on scene. Needless to say, the story had a positive outcome
    According to Wikipedia, BFD has also responded to some other pretty big incidents in Canada....
    The Buffalo Fire Department has also raced to the aid of its Canadian neighbors on several occasions. On April 4, 1904, the City of Toronto, Ontario was in the midst of a massive conflagration, known as the Great Toronto Fire. When the call for help went out, Buffalo firefighters were quick to react. Engines 12 & 13 boarded express trains to Toronto along with the fireboat tender. On October 7, 1960, a massive fire at the Maple Leaf Milling facility in Port Colborne threatened the entire downtown core. The Fireboat Edward M. Cotter along with the crew of Engine 8 were sent to assist in the conflagration and helped save the City of Port Colborne.
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    The Imperial County Fire Department and Mexico have a mutual aid agreement now. I realize that isn't Canada, but it is if your looking the opposite direction

  18. #18
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ticonderoga View Post
    The Imperial County Fire Department and Mexico have a mutual aid agreement now. I realize that isn't Canada, but it is if your looking the opposite direction

    And at this time of the year, it's definitely warmer..........
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