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  1. #1
    pro_zaq
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Mut. Aid While Protecting your own FD

    Down here in Louisiana we are burning up, I mean literally. For about two months now we have been having 1000 to 2500 acre fires a week and it is stetching us thin. We are definetely not accustomed to this kind of weather as it is usually pretty moist around here.
    So this is my question
    My FD is all Volunteer, but we are a pretty big Vol FD, we have about 35 firefighting apparatus. Recently our neighboring depts. have been calling for assistance due that our FD has the largest rolling water capacity in the region (96,000 gallons). But the problem is the Chief will only send 4 or less trucks. When we arrive at the scene our neighboring depts ask us why we only brought 4 trucks. They say we called you because WE NEEDED WATER! The chief defends his actions by saying he is protecting his own district while helping out. But we feel as though we could help out more. Keep in mind there are 31 trucks left. Our District is about 600 square miles, and our call volume is about 250 a year, so we dont run that much.
    I am Captain and I cant understand why they do things like this. I would like to hear some of you Officers point on this along with the FF's.

    Thanks!

    Thanks!


  2. #2
    jalbritt
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Florida over the years has set up a state wide Mutual resource plan. There are 8 regions in the state. Departments sign a state mutual aid agreement. When your department provides resources you are covered by other areas. It allows any major emergency in the State to get equipment and staffing the quickest. Contact the Florida Fire Chiefs for more information. JHA

  3. #3
    MtnFire
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I understand your frustration, I belong to one of the largest FDs in Montana, 22 apparatus over 8 stations. We were literally in the middle of the fires this summer, and the Chief's main concern over the weeks was to keep sufficient resources and people in district to respond to our normal call load. We were fortunate enough to have several FEMA and State IA teams stationed nearby (most of which we had trucks and people with), plus several staffed fires we could call for help from, so wildland IA resources was not concern. Another concern is that we have no mutual aid coming from the west for anything.

    All totaled, we had 6 trucks - 4 type 6, 1 type 2/tender, 1 type 1 - assigned to fires at one time, some of them within reach of the district if they were needed. That also means we had anywhere up to 18 people from our core group of responders not immediatly available.

    Your chief's main responsibility is to his district and taxpayers. I'm sure he kept the resources home that he felt he could not do without, especially if all his mutual aid resources are out doing other fires. I guarantee he would like to send more - after all it is excellent experience and it fosters good will - but I bet he felt his priorities were at home.

  4. #4
    CAPTAIN WHO
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Under most standard mutual aid agreements a department has right to refuse mutual aid due to lack of resources. Your own fire district is your #1 priority.

    It sounds like you have a large department based on your call ratio. However the commanding officer is the one who determines what equipment rolls and number of personel that can be spared.

    We operate 3 units a Pumper Rescue, Rescue Command Air Truck, and Pumper. 20 members 50 calls per year pop 3000. 2 units are designated for mutual aid, Pumper Rescue, And the Rescue Command Air unit, max personel 7. One unit and full crew must remain on standby at the station while we are on a mutual response. Our members are required to sign off if they are out of response area for more than 18 hrs. Mutual Aid personel is adjusted daily. (today we are max of 4 m/a responders). All units and members are subject to recall in the event of an additional alarm in our area.

    The commanding officer must ensure that your area is protected. It's thier butt on the line if something happens and the resources are not avalible when needed.

  5. #5
    mdr12
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Your neigboring departmens should understand the concept of mutual aid assistance. It was designed to provide help, when possible, but not at the expense of substantially reducing the ability of your fire department to protect the taxpayers in your district.

    Undoubtedly your fire departments are suffering through a rare strain and as a result, have been caught a bit unprepared. While we are expected to maintain adequate protection for day-to-day incidents, large scale fires require utilization of resources above and beyond the norm. This situation is compounded in your case since each fire department in your area is contending with large scale incidents simultaneously.

    Has the neighboring fire department contacted any State or Federal agencies for assistance? I'm sure those agencies are fairly thinned out as well but it may be worth a try, if they haven't already. Good luck.

    Originally posted by pro_zaq:
    Down here in Louisiana we are burning up, I mean literally. For about two months now we have been having 1000 to 2500 acre fires a week and it is stetching us thin. We are definetely not accustomed to this kind of weather as it is usually pretty moist around here.
    So this is my question
    My FD is all Volunteer, but we are a pretty big Vol FD, we have about 35 firefighting apparatus. Recently our neighboring depts. have been calling for assistance due that our FD has the largest rolling water capacity in the region (96,000 gallons). But the problem is the Chief will only send 4 or less trucks. When we arrive at the scene our neighboring depts ask us why we only brought 4 trucks. They say we called you because WE NEEDED WATER! The chief defends his actions by saying he is protecting his own district while helping out. But we feel as though we could help out more. Keep in mind there are 31 trucks left. Our District is about 600 square miles, and our call volume is about 250 a year, so we dont run that much.
    I am Captain and I cant understand why they do things like this. I would like to hear some of you Officers point on this along with the FF's.

    Thanks!

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    blockhousebuster
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    plain and simple

    mutal aid = all engines/trucks rolling


  7. #7
    RDWFIRE
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    blockhousebuster....Mutul aid means give them what you can and still cover your district, usually by some form of written agreement. No chief would want to explain why a home or business in their own district burned down while all of his equipment was in anther district on a fire.

    Just my opinions.

    Be safe. The dragon lurks!!!

  8. #8
    Looper
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    It depends on the situation and the distance involved. Generally, we don't let more than half our aparatus go mutual aid. Once, we sent everything except one engine -- two neighboring departments each had multi alarm fires going. We are fortunate to have a heavy concentration of fire departments and aparatus in the area -- if we need help, its not too far off.

  9. #9
    Dalmatian90
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Gotta keep areas covered...within reason.

    In my area, mutual aid calls usually result in everything rolling to them unless only specific units were requested...

    BUT...

    Other companies will be moved up on cover assignments. Typically, coverage will be one fire department covering the stations of three others.

    If you don't have cover-companies that can move up, you gotta cover yourself.

  10. #10
    Chief Taylor
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I sent one engine and another local Fire Department sent one engine to Idaho this summer. When we got back, I was fired from the Town as Fire Chief for letter one of our engines go, while the other FD Chief was prased for his actions and efforts to help the situation. I guess, it just depends on the politicians.

    They really are in control and I appreciate your Chiefs concern for keeping out of trouble, it happened to me.

  11. #11
    JAMESBENNETT
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    IN TEXAS THIS YEARS AND OVER THE PAST TWO WE HAVE BEEN ON FIRE THE SAME WAY IN ONE FORM OR FASION, BUT OUR DEPARTMENT IS RESPONSIBLE TO THE TAXPAYERS IN OUR AREA FIRST. I CAN COUNT THE NUMBER OF TIMES THAT WE HAVE SENT RESOURCES TO HELP A NIEGHBORING DEPARTMENT AND DROP A RUN WHILE THEY WERE STILL OUT. I LIVE IN A COUNTY THAT COVERS 800 SQ. MILE WITH 13 DEPARTMENTS AND WE ALL HAVE A MUTUAL AID AGREEMNENT THAT IN THE CASE OF A LARGE SCALE INCIDENT EACH DEPARTMENT WILL COMMIT ONE UNIT TO THAT DEPARTMENT AND ALL OF THE COUNTY OWNED RESOURCES'6 TYPE 6 ENG.,1 5000 GALLON TANKER, AND 350 DOZER. THIS ALLOWS US TO MAINTAIN OUR DISTRICT AND STILL GIVE EACH OTHER THE HELP WE NEED.

    A GOOD EXAMPLE IS WE HAD ABOUT A 80 ACRE TREE FIRE BURNING IN A NIEGHBORS DISTRICT AND WE COMMITED OUR ONE TRUCK AND OUR TANKER AND TWO ENGINES,A TYPE 5 AND TPYE 1 . THAT LEFT US PRETTY THIN IN TOWN. ABOUT 20 MINUTES AFTER THIS CALL WE DROP A MAJOR ACCIDENT AND HAD TO CUT TWO PEOPLE OUT OF A CAR WITH ONLY 4 FOLKS. OUR CHIEF WAS NOT VERY PLEASED WITH SO MANY RESOURCES BEING GONE AT ONETIME AND THE DOKEY BAR B-Q STILL HAS MY A** IN BAND-AIDS. HERE ENDTH THE LEASON.

    ------------------
    SERVING FOR PRIDE
    PROUD TO SERVE!

  12. #12
    TM
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Here in Monrovia we have Arcadia and Sierra Madre who will help and if needed we'll call on the County. There is also a state wide mutual aid program set up through the govenors office of emergency services (OES) a department recieves an Engine from the state and agrees to staff and be willing to send anywhere through out the state at all times they are all risk engines. Three department s that I know of have these Ontario, Arcadia and Sierra Madre

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