1. #1
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    Default mutual aid requesting

    hi,
    when requesting mutual aid does your department request closest available department or do you jump over them and go further down the road? our neighboring department when requesting mutual aid will request departments that are 2-3 times the distance away than the 2 neighboring departments. if questioned they always have a reason. there tanker is bigger, or they wanted a bigger brush truck. it seems that personal feelings run the department rather than life & property protection. by the way the chief is also a state outreach instructor teaching in our county but very obviously not doing what he teaches.
    stay safe stay low.

  2. #2
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    We request the closest mutual aid with the resources we need.

    The majority of the time, we call our neighbors. The exceptions are when we need LOTS of foam or when hydraulic rescue tools are needed, simply because our neighbors don’t carry either.

    There are departments that we work with well, and departments that we work with not so well. We don't play favorites when asking for help.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  3. #3
    41Truck
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    Default Mutual Aid Request

    WOFD1,
    I can see the reason for doing this for a strategic point of view. It may be done to insure adequate coverage for the surrounding areas. For example if there is a fire in town "A" then town "C" would respond to their mutual aid request. That way town "B" would be centrally located to cover both "A" and "C" if they need to respond to any calls while the other units are operating. I knew of the term as "leapfrogging". This would also apply to not just towns but firehouses as well to keep units centrally located to respond to alarms.

    I'm sure ego or company rivalries don't determine what companies respond. Atleast I hope not.

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    call it what you want, incident command course says call the closest resource. they have their favorites, were not one of them because we dont drink. simple.

  5. #5
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    When requesting mutual aid we are sent the closest most appropriate response. IC requests it and dispatch finds it for us.

  6. #6
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    Basically a combo of what Silver City & 41 Truck.

    Most mutual aid is simply the closest -- heck, structure fires receive automatic mutual aid of the other department in town plus the closest out-of-town department. Most towns in my area work that way -- three closest departments respond to all structures. The ones that don't tend to be in more densely populated areas were water supply isn't as big of a problem, and FD officers get on scene quicker than out in the sticks.

    But certain resources will be leap-frogged. One town we work with frequently on mutual aid (both directions) knows not to bother rolling their large tanker to our incidents. Heck, I'm not sure they even still have it -- had 3000 gallons of water, but off-loaded at about 250gpm, slow enough that it caused more water supply problems than it solved.

    Another case for leapfrogging is hydraulic tools -- just 'cause a department has an "omni" tool doesn't mean they have the size & quantity of hydraulic rescue tools needed.

    Our area also has essentially "Tanker Task Forces" that are planned out that do start to skip some of the big tankers to keep from completely stripping areas...so a tanker 15 miles away may roll while one 11 miles away ends up on standby in quarters since their station is more centrally located for providing coverage to the north part of the region.

    So their can be legitimate reasons...before any politics even gets involved.

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    We utilize both automatic and mutual aid in my volunteer department. We are a combo department with paid day time staffing surrounded on 2 sides by suburban paid departmens (One 4 station and the other 5 station departments)as well as the fourth largest city in the country on the other side. So anyway, we have an automatic agreement with the 2 suburban depts.'s both coming and going. If anyone of the 3 cities has a structure fire, all three departments will have atleast one resource at the incident so as not to strip one entire department. Upon receipt of a structure fire, the CLOSEST automatic-aid resource by TYPE is dispatched. If the incident is in a commercial building in the neighboring dept, then a Tower Co. is recommended by CAD and the closest (Ours) is dispatched. The same applies to Engine Co.'s and Rescue Co.'s. If the incident continues to escalate, back-in companies are reuested from the next nearest departments no matter paid or volunteer and no matter day or time. If the incident continues to escalate then those resources make the fire and the process continues until the incident stabilizes. We all (The 3 dept.'s) enjoy a good relationship not only on scenes and training but also socially as we eat lunch together and stop by each others stations. This last part goes along way to bridging any gaps both operationally and in personalities. ALl three departments operate the same, utilize the Incident Management System (IMS), common terminology and same equipment as far as having TIC's, the same extrication equipment, ALS medical capablities, etc. As for skipping over neighboring departments, it happens on a rare occasion and usually for reasons of staffing and availability of distant departments. There are semi-officially designated "back-in" departments that cover on our end of the department first and make the scene second but usually only because of distance to our scenes. I believe in calling for the closest resource to the scene and for good reason. If I am the IC, I need resources when I need them, not when the seond closest available Truck Co. can get there. I believe it is a dis-service to not only the citizens but also the fire fighters by skipping over them. As long as they are trained, equipped and operationally functional there is no reason not to utilize them.
    Stay low and move it in.

    Be safe.


    Larry

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    I'm aware of one situation where a department that is fairly busy and calls for mutual aid probably once a month never summons the adjoining paid department due to a dispute that occurred 25 years ago. It's unfortunate as they are doing a disservice to themselves on the fireground and to the citizens of their town by not calling for a department that would arrive on the scene sooner.

  9. #9
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    Thumbs down POLITICAL NITEMARE!!

    I have seen that type of thing before, it sucks!! Usually it is driven by personal or political motives. I can think of 2 departments in the past that have been passed up on several occasions because of these reasons. It's too bad that the town's people will have too suffer for years to come.
    Firefighter/NREMT-P/Public Safety Diver
    May we ride into the darkness only to return as safe as we started!!

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    When we request mutual aid it will depend on the time of day. The department to our west is an all volunteer department that has to be paged in. They also are short handed during the day just as we are.
    The department to our east is a full time paid department so they will have a quicker response and can call off duty firefighters in to cover the city while they are assisting us. All the departments around us are GREAT and we enjoy working with all of them. We just try not to tap their resources while their manpower is low.
    Brian Cook
    Asst. Chief

  11. #11
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    Closest , closest, closest…..Your MA system should be set up so the closest resource is the next due. I have dealt with this issue for years as a battalion chief in Bucks County Pa. When our county box system was developed in the mid 80’s, my department calculated distances from every station in the area. We divide our first due into 7 boxes. These boxes were created by distance from the 2nd and 3rd due engines. When we tried to go to the 4th due the boxes got too small…1 or 2 intersections. To fill out the rest of the box card we calculated distance from the center of the box. This system has worked very well over the years. Most of the time the closest company is being called. The only time it gets a little nuts is after the 2nd alarm.

    Some departments did not put as much effort into creating their boxes. I think they put on the boxes who their buddy was at the time. By not calling the closest resource you are only hurting the public. I have heard all of the excuses for the “buddy” system of mutual aid…they get out faster, their tank is bigger, they carry more hose. This does not fly! Most of the time you only need the man power, not the bigger tank or additional hose so why skip over the closest available resource 100% of the time. After a size-up, if you know that you need additional resources,you can upgrade the assignment. Also, if you have certain target hazards that require a specific piece of equipment…put it on the box card assignment. But to totally disregard the closest resource is unacceptable.

    A few years back I read an article…believe it was in Fire Chief that discussed some legal issues with fire departments. One of the items discussed was lawsuits against fire departments. The article stated that 2 of the biggest areas were FD’s are found negligent is taking equipment out of the area for parades without a cover and not calling the closest mutual aid. I wish I could quote this article directly but I am having trouble finding it.
    Last edited by blackleather; 07-23-2002 at 12:23 PM.

  12. #12
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    Our department has two stations, due to being cut in half by those lovely RR tracks. So we call for "ASSISTANCE"-(call the sister station) or "MUTUAL AID"-(calling a neighboring town). Depending on the situation and the location of the incident determines which call is made. If the call is an injury accident near the center of the city, we usually call for assistance. If its towards the outskirts of the city we usually call for mutual aid. The normal procedure is to call for assistance first, then mutual aid.
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  13. #13
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    Default Mutual Aid Requests

    If equipment is being requested to the scene, the nearest Department with the resources we need is requested. The only time a neighboring Department would be "skipped" would be for fill ins. Our neighboring County has done this numerous time for multiple alarm fires.
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
    Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
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    We use the closest department with the equipment needed for the task. Sometimes we will not use the closest dept. depending on the time of day, because some of our surrounding departments are limited on manpower.
    In the past we haven't been called out to help because of conflicts with the Chief, but that's taken care of.
    The public shouldn't suffer because of personality conflicts. We are here to do a service for the people; lets do it right!

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    Politics Play a role in Firefighting...Never...

    Or that should be the case. Like most
    others we rely on Automatic & called for
    mutual aid. The automatic is great as
    it is pre-thought out and all laid out.
    The called for is just that. Whatever
    the scene commander requests, dispatch
    tries to make happen. We rarely
    jump over departments unless for
    special tools or equipment.

    Now that is said we all know that politics & personalities play a role
    Remember,

    If you don't respond.....who will

    IACOJ EMS Bureau Member
    IACOJ Member

  16. #16
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    The three depts that my area shares with all call the closest one in. With the exception of my dept, all have at least two stations as well. One of the Depts has high angle rescue (which we have called upon before) and a new aerial truck - they just received it 2 months ago. All have extrication equip as well as large tankers. Ours is a 3000 gal ex-milk truck with a 10 inch dump valve on the back, we have no problem filling a port-a-tank in about 2min flat.

    None of the depts calls on mutual aid very often, but when we do, its who ever is closest to that particular area of interest.
    If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

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  17. #17
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    We have departments around here that won't call other neighboring departments because they are call departments. Other units travel much farther to cover the city but those closer get called. Others switch run cards depending on the prevailing thoughts of the week on that department.

    When it comes down to it get me the closest unit to save my butt from the grill. There could potentially be a huge financial liability if your second due companies are called from a longer distance without a good reason.
    "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

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