I am hearing more and more about fire departments entering into mutual aid and automatic aid agreements. There are many reasons why this makes good sense. The first and most important reason I can think of is improved firefighter safety. If additional resources are dispatched from a neighboring department at the same time your department is dispatched then it stands to reasons the delay in their arrival will be reduced significantly. This can improve firefighter safety. By increasing the number of firefighters on the scene, the stress and strain on everyone is reduced. Simply stated there are more people to share the workload. An automatic aid department can also serve as your rapid intervention team/crew.
Depending in the size of your community and the proximity of the neighboring department's station(s), there is a risk the neighboring department could arrive at the fire before your department does. Short of bruising the ego of your firefighters, I struggle to see the downside of having the closest and quickest fire department arrive first.
The mission of all fire department is to reduce the loss of life and property while ensuring the safety of the firefighters. Automatic aid will help you achieve your mission.
Richard B. Gasaway, PhD, EFO, CFO