1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation Help with mutual aid !!

    I know we are far behind on this but better late than never. We are just setting up a mutual aid group. So far there is great intrest and each dept has the basic info about the others. #ers, contacts, list of equipment everyone has and what to expect from eachother. There is one town dept with 2 pumpers and a tanker, located in the center (geographically) and the rest are small, 1 truck rual depts.
    The question is where do we go from here?
    What is the next step or steps? Without spending a lot of money.

  2. #2
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    >> We are just setting up a mutual aid group. So far there is great intrest and each dept has the basic info about the others. #ers, contacts, list of equipment everyone has and what to expect from eachother.

    Good for you! I'm a huge fan of using mutual aid as a means of improving service. We are involved in several mutual aid arrangements, the oldest of which dates back about 20 years.

    Our most extensive agreement at present is what we refer to as the "tri-company agreement" between us and our two closest neighbors. We all provide engine company services and one specialty. Ours is aerial ops, one of the other two companies supplies vehicle & technical rescue, while the other supplies tankers. We use a fourth company (also with heavy rescue capabilities) as the primary RIT, although they are not fully integrated into the rest of the aid structure.

    Some of the highlights of the tri-company structure include:

    - a joint training schedule is set up for the year at the December joint officers' meeting. This includes at least one joint drill per month, hosted by each company on a rotating basis. These drills usually stress general competencies (structural burns, flammable liquids, etc.), but we also run some specialized courses (tech rescue ops of different kinds, tanker ops, etc.) aimed at making our personnel more interchangeable at all levels. Most drills are run in-house, but we also bring in outside instructors for more specialized courses (for example, one of these this year will be Structural Collapse I & II, scheduled to be run by an instructor from the Philadelphia Fire Department).

    - we make specific efforts to cross-train on equipment. for example, we currently use MSA packs, while the others use Scotts. When we do SCBA related drills, our people use Scotts some of the time, while theirs use MSAs some of the time. The idea is to get to the point where anybody can walk up to any rig from any company, grab what they need and use it effectively.

    - officers meet jointly at least three (scheduled) times per year to review and coordinate procedures, plans, etc. Any decisions or suggestions resulting from these meetings are conveyed to everyone.

    - as much as possible, manpower at incidents is deployed as a "manpower pool", with personnel deployed where needed, according to skills and abilities rather than by company affiliation. Officers are included in this, with OIC determined by the highest-ranking offier in his/her home jurisdiction. If this results in an aid company Chief running the roof sector and reporting to a home company Assistant Chief who is OIC for the incident, then so be it. At the same time, junior officers (or any officers, really) in their home territory are encouraged to seek help from senior officers, regardless of their company affiliation, if they need that help to get the job done. Ultimately, the goal is to get the job done, not to mark your territory. Officers whose egos would prevent them from coping with an arrangement like this need not apply.

    - After major incidents, joint critiques are held and run on a "run it up the flagpole and see who salutes" basis. We try to evaluate our performance as objectively and productively as possible.

    - While our decisions on purchasing, and such, are internal to each company, we try to keep each others' needs and concerns for compatability in mind as much as possible.

    The keys to these agreements are cooperation, coordination and communication. And, as you might notice, nowhere did I talk about spending large amounts of money to make this work.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Yep, sounds like you are heading in the right direction. Brother Snyder has some excellent suggestions for you to look at.

    At some point, consider a Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABUS). Once you get familiar with everyone else's resources and operations, sit down and divide your fire response areas into "zones". Then set up a system for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. alarms that will effectively draw resources your department will need from the other departments in the area to deal with progressively larger fire calls.

    In our MABUS system, most departments break up their response area both geographically and also by avialability of water supple (i.e. fire hydrants). The 1st Alarm is normally just a response from our department. A 2nd Alarm in a Hydrant area may bring in an additional engine company, manpower and an air unit. If it is a 2nd alarm in a rural area, it normally brings in 2 or 3 additional tankers (water tenders) and perhaps an engine company.

    3rd, 4th and 5th Alarms bring more equipment to address bigger fires. The first arriving Incident Commander (IC) determines the need for additional alarms.

    What this does is simplify the work of the IC at a major incident. Upon arriving at a major fire, all the IC has to do to get needed help is increas the alarm response. Before we had the MABAS, the IC would have to stop and try to think of what departments were closest to the incident and what equipment they could provide to deal with the incident. From the other end, mutual aid department do not need to ask the IC what equipment they need to respond with, since it is already determined in the MABAS.

    Hope that is of some use to you!

  4. #4
    Deputy Dog Dashwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Mutal aid is great Iam in an area were we have 8 hall's numbered 1 to 8. In responce we are paged out of a central dispatch center. We all have the same pass port accountablity system. When we get called out it is one depatrment at a time adn depending on the call we will call for mutal aid from another hall. We practice with our mutal aid halls approx 3 times a year and it works for us really well. we use other halls all the time. We all have signed an agrement called "oceanside mutal aid act" each hall can help out the other hall provided you don't leave your area un protected. So the halls leave at least there Ist out rig on stand-by at the hall. The 1st alarm set up sounds good. I might have to look in to that futher.We also have area chief/training officer's meetings every second month at a differnt hall.No cost at all to start this system up aswell, just a beter friendship with your other halls.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    We have automatic M/A with a neighboring department on all residential fires and 2 departments on commercial fires. All responses are set up with run cards at the county 911 center. Run cards are set up to the 5th alarm level to include truck company response, etc. Initially we met with the neigboring departments to set all of this up. We also have a county fire and squad officers association that helped greatly. The officers association also coordinates a tanker taskforc response for non-hydranted areas. This includes units from neighboring counties. These are automatically dispatched for our department and is set up with the run cards. We're doing more multi-department training too.

    I hope that I could help. If you have any questions, e-mail at brothers@1st.net

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register