To All Brothers, Sisters, Chiefs, Chief Officers and Line Officers

I have been placed on a committee here in the Upstate SC inreguards to the above listed. And forgive me for any spelling mistakes, I am typing by the light of my laptop screen! We are looking into trying to get a guide line in place for our county depts to use as a stepping stone for FF safety. By no means are we trying to become a county run dept, but we have depts in the county with little or no guidelins to go by for these matters.
We as Brothers need to look after each other, Right! I have been asked to go through a zone and collect information about these dept and their equipment. I also will ask what areas within and around each dept district can we as a committee do to help! So my question is, how do you and dept's around you work together in structure fires and other calls? How many personnel is on your first due? How is your I A P set fro mutual aid and other fireground tactics? Please feel free to use this for your personnel training and with your dept's that are around you.

Also email me at a.bridwell@yahoo.com for details and input

Thanks
Andy Bridwell

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We are a rural volunteer fire department covering about 40 square miles, with similar departments on all sides. We have automatic mutual aid agreements in place with some of our neighbors, meaning that they are dispatched simultaneously with us for fires or haz mat incidents. Much of the district has no hydrants.

Also being volunteer we can get anywhere from 3 to 30 depending on who is available. Same thing for our neighbors, hence the automatic aid agreements.

So - if we have a fire and the neighbors are coming, their tankers and manpower come to the scene. Their first pumper may be water supply, attack, RIT or stand by in our station depending on the scope of the incident. Or we will order a RIT from a department further away, leap-frogging them over our neighbors who may be committed to specific tasks.

With this system we can beef up our response with members from other departments if necessary, stage them for use as relief crews, or send them to our firehouse to cover.

One very important aspect of this system is training - you need to train with the mutual aid companies to make sure everyone is of a common mind regarding safety. Things like interior search patterns, common radio channel assignments, RIT techniques should be worked out before the real deal happens.

Even things like hose thread adapters should be considered before finding out the hard way that you don't have a 4" to 5" Storz adapter.
Thanks for the response, In our area we have a lot of don't come into my district! We are working hard to get this out. Some time ago a county wide dept talk started and it pissed off alot of chiefs. Now that we are doing this, some still think we are at it again! Well they are wrong. We just want to help each other out. Getting input from those who run a mutual aid helps me look at the big picture. My Dept run automatic aid on all Structure fires and standby for any other calls. This partnership has been going on for 20 years. And why I say that we are 3 small dept that turn out about 20 on structure fires. Now Looking at a greater aspect of it, We could go anywhere in the county. Getting other to see that all we want to do is make sure everyone goes home.
How long has your mutual aid been going on? Are the surrounding depts all volunteer or Combo? What are some of the biggest problems you have or find today?

Thanks again for the response, and looking foward to hearing from you again.
I work for the Union City FD in Tn. As yet there is no county FD here in Obion county,(this is a rural area), but we have a mutual aid pact with the vollies in the county. For rural structure calls say we have one 911 automaticly responds the 2 closets depts with tankers for water. when the IC gets there they call for man power if needed depending on size and weather temp.
AS to guidelines go to our web page and look at ours some might work for you others wont but it will give you something to go by. Look for the SOG link

http://ucfdtn.com/
Thanks Aurthr for your response,
I will check out your SOG's and my pull son ideas from there. Thanks again
Andy, one of our mutual aid agreements has been in place since 1975, while the other was set up about 10 years ago. Both departments that we have the agreement with are volunteer, although the nearby career department would be happy to respond if we determined the need for them to do so.

Problems with automatic aid: We sometimes get dispatched to trash/rubbish fires, wires arcing, and other minor calls by dispatchers whose interpretation of a fire is a little loose. We also may get dispatched for minor calls in the middle of the night, only to be canceled en route, which frequently gets some members worked up.

On the other hand, it does increase our call volume and the non-EMS members are more active that way. We also know that additional chief officers as well as equipment and manpower is on the way when a known "worker" is dispatched.

Hope this answers your questions.
Thanks Ed,

I do like the task force zones. This seems like it works good for your county. Just opening this discussion up to others has brought a better understanding and a different outlook on how to approach this matter. I also see we are not the only County that has problems. Thanks again for the input. All that has been discussed will be brought to the table and will be gone over. Hopefully in the future we can all work together for the better.

Now another couple of questions!
Does your local or County Goverment get involved with your fire service area?
Do they give you funding when it is needed?
Do even know what you do?

I know the funding is tight for all in the Public Service field. It seems that our County Goverment cuts our budget more and more, and put things other than public service, higher on the list.
Does your goverment back you and are they open minded to the needs and changes we face on a daily basis?

Looking foward to this response,

Andy
Here we are all volunteer rural departments with no hydrants in the country. Here we have mutual aid agreements, but they are set up that you help me and i help you. We have to call in our mutual aid at every call so not everyone gets woke up at midnight for a power line down. Most of our mutual aid help is close by and we all have the same type of game plan on structure fires. This helps out alot so we don't have three different departments trying to do the same task three different ways. We also have a fire association meeting every other month so we all can sit down through out the county and discuss any problems through out the county. We get a meeting and training on certain things to do with the fire service. This allows us to train together as a county. This system seems to work for us and I hope this helps you out some what. Take care and be safe out ther
Andy,

You might want to look at what the Chattanooga area did. They had a similar problem in the 1970's. What they did was create a Mutual Aid Association. I believe that they are chartered as a non-profit corporation. The member departments have to meet a minimum standard (being able to handle a single-family dwelling fire without routinely needing outside assistance) and some minimum equipment and training standards. They also have standard definitions for "engine company", "ladder company", "rescue company", etc.

Each department gets one vote at the business meetings, regardless of the department's size. Initial members were concentrated in Hamilton County, TN, and Catoosa and Walker Counties in GA, but now they have members from several surrounding counties. They have an operations coordinator and a couple of assistant coordinators that respond to large incidents and help the IC manage the large number of resources he'll get. They also have at least one radio channel designated as the mutual aid channel, so that's the primary tactical channel that gets used. No one has to ask what channel to go to when they're on a mutual aid response. Hamilton County, TN Emergency Services is the primary mutual aid association dispatcher. The mutual aid association is primarily made up of fire departments or fire-rescue departments, but there are some rescue-only departments, a couple of hazmat teams, some technical rescue and dive teams, a mobile command post unit, and an incident rehab unit that are members.

This association is the Tri-State Mutual Aid Association. Further information can be obtained from Chief Tony Reavley of Hamilton County Emergency Services. His contact information can be found in the Communications link on the following web page: http://www.hamiltontn.gov/emergencymanagement/fieldservices.htm

Good luck

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