1. #1
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    Default International Mutual Aid

    Just wondering if there are any depts. on Canadian, or Mexican Borders that have ever provided mutual aid to depts. just over the borders? I suspect that this doesn't happen but if it does how it work?
    This statements made above do not represent the agency i belong to in any shape or form. So if i say something stupid its just me.

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    Good question. As part of my Police role I have been upto Canada and to cross I had to hand over all weapons on my person. I just wounder how a fire truck crossing would work. Any inspections and would "weapons" like AXes and Pike Poles make it across if they were inspected.

    It is somethig that would be fun to see.
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    While we are not close enough to the boarder to have to worry about it, I do remember reading/talking to a guy who said he was (it was back east somewhere, in Ontario I think). He said that they routinely crossed over the boarder for mutual aid calls. I think it was as simple as a direct line from their dispatch to the boarder crossing office to let them know the Engine was coming. The boarder patrol would make sure that there was a lane for it to come through.

    On another note, shortly after 9/11 I rememeber reading an article about someoneing trying to buy mock fire engines and ambulances from a television studio. Some security type people were worried that explosives could be placed on these vehicles, then used to get close to sensative buildings, which made some sense to me because a security guard who has a Fire Engine roll up, lights and siren, might just wave them through without thinking.....
    "No one ever called the Fire Department for doing something smart..."

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    Speaking as someone who lives and works only a river away from our Canadian neighbors.

    As far back as I can remember I have never taken the tunnel or the bridge to Canada to help out on events happening over there. I do recall a certain week end day when my two brothers my father and myself were asked to kindly make a U-turn and head back to the US.
    Ok back to the topic.....We have however taken part in some trining type activities with our homies across the river. Mostly they were bridge and tunnel deals.
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    This happens quites frequently along the rural borders like MB, SK, AB, etc. Those big fancy checkpoints you see near the major centers don't exist in the sticks (unless you are on a major highway), and there are even areas where there is nothing more than a sign where the dirt road crosses the border saying, please check in with customs in such-and-such a town. Our nearest customs gate is nothing more than a 500 square foot booth with two people on duty inside.

    To give you an example of what goes on from time to time, I have a good friend out here from Manitoba who was in a very bad wreck several years ago about 5km inside the US (on a backroad in the middle of nowhere). The ambulance crew was US, and the fire crew was Canadian. The American EMT saw his license plate, and decided to drive him back into a Canadian Hospital. Nothing was ever said about it, and this saved him hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills (we call him the bionic man because he is half plastic and metal now).

    He spoke to the crew after his recovery to thank them, and they said they did cross-border calls all the time, and if they could identify the patients country of residence they would deliver them accordingly. A Canadian who is treated in the states doesn't get our universal coverage without supplemental travel insurance.

    I could understand that this may be getting tightened up a little post 9/11, but this is still the worlds longest undefended border.
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    Yes, International mutual aid happens. When I was working with the Del Rio FD, in Del Rio, TX. we responded to aid calls for Ciudad Acuna, Mexico. It really wasn't "mutual aid" though. We aided them, and that's it. They really don't have any "aid" to offer anyway. They are only supposed to request it for very large fires. The way it always worked, was, they had something big and called us and we went. Then, for weeks they would call us for every little structure fire they had. Finally administration would call over there and tell them we don't do that, and it would stop... until the next big one. One of the last fires I fought in that Dept was in Mexico. Talk about some unsafe buildings over there. It would give you nightmares. At the last fire I was at there, the fire was in a ....... "house" that had been added on to. One guy builds a house, and then everyone else sees the chance to only have to build 3 walls and a roof if they hook up to his. Anyway, there must have been about 15 houses... built in a freaking canyon we could not get to the doors from where we were do to a fence, and about a 50' drop, so we tore down the back wall of one of them, with our hands no less and stopped it when it got into that one. That was at one of the little ones we were not supposed to have to mess with. About a week before they had a large.... well, whorehouse, that had burned down. It really got messy because the engine we sent over there to help, had a structure fire in thier district about 30 minutes after they left. The US fire had some major loss, and it was only a matter of time before the owners found out that the engine that was supposed to responde there first, was in mexico, at a whorehouse fire. You can imagine how that went over.
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    I once was involved with a hazardous materials simulation on the US Mexican border that brought a hazmat response team across the border from Mexico. Everything was arranged ahead of time with the border crossing point. They told us they would count heads on the way over and count them again on the way back. No vehicle inspection was required during the exercise. I don't know how that would work for an actual incident.

    For those of you who are wondering why a haz mat team would be called from Mexico, the reason was that U.S. companies have built numerous chemical plants immediately across the border in Mexico to avoid U.S. environmental and labor requirements. These plants have well equiped hazmat teams that respond across the border when needed.

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    Yes, I see you are a fellow Vermonter. It happens, in fact our County Mutual Aide Association is Franklin County International Firefighters Association. We have I think, 6 Canadian departments that belong.

    The requesting Department notifies their Countries Border Port and they have communications between the two ports of entry. You don't blow through the port code 3. They know and are aware of what is going on. Personal vehicles have to go through normal procedures, but they know that there is a fire and that trucks from such and such town are going to be arriving soon.

    There are a lot of changes happening in Quebec for their training requirements. They have major liability issues and the poor chief up there has to prove they did everything correctly in court! That is what is driving the training issues and they are now being required to have 300-400hours training for level one FF. It is a completely different world.

    There are lots of things happening with this training so we may be only requested to do tanker shuttles or fill site work not interior firefighting. And from what we have been told that is all due to the liabiliy issues they are addressing. Different country different rules.

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    The Grand Daddy of long distance mutual aid agreements is the joint agreement for wildfire that the U.S. and Australia have - it has worked well for both countries - the Aussies have been requested by the U.S. a couple of times and last season we needed the U.S. guys down here for the first time and we really appreciated their assistance - they were great to work with. Mind you when you have a 2 million acre fire going you will accept offers of help from just about anywhere!
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

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    Originally posted by MOTOWN88
    Speaking as someone who lives and works only a river away from our Canadian neighbors.

    As far back as I can remember I have never taken the tunnel or the bridge to Canada to help out on events happening over there.
    Hey MO, do you remeber the hotel fire (a Holiday Inn I beleive) a few years back? DFD put the Fireboat to work and had 2 engines staged at the tunnel to respond. I don't beleive the engines actually responded to the alarm, however.

    There were also the painters on the Ambassador Bridge that had to be rescued when their scaffolding broke - that was a joint response.
    Resident Chaplain of the IACOJ

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    Montgomery County Maryland and Fairfax County Virginia Fire Departments have responded "Mutual Aid" for USAR to Armenia, Mexico City, Iran and Russia after Earthquakes...does that count?.,...

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    Speaking as someone who lives and works only a river away from our Canadian neighbors.
    We are in the same situation and have crossed the ditch for MA training for their Hydroelectric Generating plant. Because this was training we did stop at the Customs booth and answered questions, but it was a much shorter list of questions than normal. I believe that during that drill one of the American companies got a Structure fire call and responded back across the bridge and were allowed through without delay. We worked quite well with our Canadian brothers across the ditch, they do some things different but alot is the same.
    Shawn M. Cecula
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    IACOJ Division of Fire and EMS

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    I remember reading an article in the Atlantic Firefighter(Canadian Firefighter Monthly Paper) that a processing plant or just a large plant in New Brunswick had a fire and dept's from Maine responded Mutual Aid to that fire...I think that happens every now and then on Maine NB border..But who knows...I'm never gonna deal with it because one side of me is ocean and the other is NB...


    Stephen
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    KVFD

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