I feel that there is a lack of emergency personnel that are actually available to respond to situations where they may be dispatched to. I believe that this situation applies for all emergency personnel whether it is police officers, firefighters or EMS personnel. On any given day I can listen to my scanner at my house and hear in emergency dispatchers having to dispatch emergency departments from outside of the area of the incident or incidents. This situation applies for both paid emergency personnel and volunteer emergency personnel. My opinion is that if many of these smaller departments would consolidate with each other I feel that the response time rate would increase dramatically.
People's lives would probably not be in as much danger if in the situation we had more personnel able to respond more quickly and efficiently to their different locations where incidents may occur.
There are at least four different fire departments around the area in which I live. It takes at least one fire Department five minutes to respond to an incident where another fire Department that is located closer to the incident could respond in about two minutes from the time they are dispatched.
There have been numerous incidents where I live where fire departments were not able to respond to an incident due to the fact that it was not in their department’s territory and as a result whatever the incident may have been would have gotten much worse than it would have if the fire department that was closer was able to respond.

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Comment by 4233 on June 30, 2008 at 8:29am
I am a dispatcher also and know where Steve is coming from. We waste more time trying to get units responding to calls, and covering for each other, when the "home station" is committed. Mergers work well if there are people to cover the entire area. Usually what happens after the merger is you still only get one or two units to cover a larger area...just like you had before (if you are lucky). I believe this happens because people "...don't want to run under him or her..." and they go somewhere else. The automatic mutual aid dispatches are the normal situation now. Two or three (or more) station initial dispatch works very well. We have a county wide mutual aid agreement and an agreement with all the surrounding counties signed by the appropriate authorities.
Comment by FETC on June 28, 2008 at 9:59am
In my area, we have a regional dispatch center. If you are dispatched by them you are a member of the entire mutual aid compact. In the beginning, and every so often, you will meet with the M/A Dispatch Coordinator and set up run cards for 5- alarms. This includes a day and night cards. Depending if you know your town is a bedroom community and have no responders working in town. You can set up automatic responses for the first alarm. So it maybe your town and some mutual aid responding on the first alarm. We cover a neighboring town who has NO fire department. The dispatcher will dispatch the run cards as set it up by you.

If you are on mutual aid run, then obviously you are unable to respond to your own town or to another mutual aid response. The dispatcher bump around surrounding towns to cover your station.

No formal paperwork with each individual town, it is just an agreement with the compact. I have worked elsewhere, where our town had the police department dispatch the FD. There was obviously a concern with mutual aid and the PD had to call individual towns or dispatch centers to get mutual aid.

If you don't have a regional dispatch center, I would suggest this first before consolidating fire departments, that has budgetary, personnel, management and jurisdictional concerns.
Comment by Will2745 on June 26, 2008 at 5:10am
To me, this is a situation that your city/twp fathers need to work out,,I/e mutual aid. I would not be proper for the seperate fire depts to just say,,ok..we will cover you and you cuver us,,,needs to be put in paper to protect everyone.

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