I just saw on my local news that a fire dept. in a neighboring county was dispatched to a chimney fire at a house 8 miles away from their station, while a fire dept. within, what the anchor said was "walking distance" was never even dispatched. The reason? Some sort of dispute between the supervisors of two townships. The story didn't explain more, but the bottom line is some homeowner could have lost property and life due to a "dispute" of people who are supposed to be looking after his or her best interest. I think it's disgusting. Has anyone else dealt with anything like this?
Maybe, but probably not. It depends on how the running schedule, (box assignment) is written. There are many areas of this country, including my own which have a set assignment of apparatus for a particular area, and that is how it is dispatched. Many comm centers follow this assignment to the letter,and dispatchers are not allowed to make changes on their own, unless a chief officer specifically asks for a change or to add an apparatus. This is where automatic mutual aid agreements can help.
Not knowing the situation you cite, we are left to speculate. Are there areas in this country where departments cannot play well with each other? Most certainly. A lot of it has to do with that dirty 5 letter word...money. Some feel that if another department is allowed to be first in, into their area, then people will wonder why they are paying their department if they cannot handle their own calls.
While maybe not as prevalent as it once was, this type of dispute has been going on since before Ben Franklin put on a white helmet, and it is un-realistic to think that it unfortunately will not continue.
Around here, the boundaries have been established, the maps have been drawn, the protocols written and that is how departments are dispatched in our county. It is an enhanced 911 system.
The system does not recognize who is having a pissing contest and the system cannot be changed without the approval of 911 Board, 911 Coordinator, Fire department trustees and fire department chief.
A person cannot simply call up dispatch and say: "we're pissed off at XYZ. Call this department instead."
Sorry, but Society being as lawsuit happy as it is, this situation would beg for Dewey, Fleesom and Howe.
That's also the way we do it around here. The only thing that gets me is that there is a station from another dept. about a half mile north of our north border and if a call comes in for the road that separates us, we get called to it. We are about 4 miles out. If it comes in as a business alarm on this road, we are dual toned. That's the way it is around our county. Some of the lines don't really make alot of sense. I have called for this other engine company to respond with us on MVAs if the radio traffic makes it sound serious enough. I try to use the common sense that our 911 directors don't have.
Blair, it's hard to know what happened without all the facts ? Maybe you could fine out a little more? If it's a pissing match, that puts the citizens in serious danger for sure! AN enhanced 911 system would cure that. My county works the same way Arts does. 911 had to do some adjustments when a call came in and it was on a boundary line when they first started out, it worked out like it was suppose to after that!
I looked, at your request, at our online newspaper and online t.v. news website, and could not find the story on either site. It was just a blip on the news, less than 15 seconds I would say, so I'm going off memory in my post, and cannot find the story to back it up for more details in this thread, my apologies.
In NY state things work pretty much the way Art described earlier. Fire Protection districts are established by towns/villages/cities. Contracts are in place between the towns/villages/cities and fire departments to provide fire protection to a specific district. The residents of a FPD pay for fire protection to the responsible department through their town taxes.
Fire departments thus have a legal responsibility to provide the fire protection in their district, and the agency overseeing the dispatch of FDs has the responsibility to make sure the right FD goes to the right area. No one person or event can change this.
My impression is that there are a number of areas in the US where this is not the case.