Reno offers to extend fire agreement


At a joint meeting between the Reno City Council and the Truckee Meadows Board of Fire Commissioners (the Washoe County Commission) Thursday afternoon, the Reno City Council voted unanimously to extend the current interlocal agreement for fire services for six months so proposals for regionalization could be negotiated.

This offer, which provides for the closest station to respond to an emergency call regardless of jurisdiction, was rejected by the Board of Fire Commissioners. Each agency will now proceed toward providing independent fire protection services when the interlocal agreement expires July 1, 2012.

Reno residents will continue to be protected by the Reno Fire Department, which has the personnel, equipment, depth of resources and training necessary to deliver fire protection services in Reno. The city of Reno will also move forward on negotiating a mutual aid agreement with the soon-to-be-independent Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.

Explanation of mutual aid and automatic aid

As a result of the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District’s decision to terminate the Consolidated Fire Department, Reno is pursuing a mutual aid agreement with TMFPD, similar to the agreements with other neighboring jurisdictions including Sparks, Carson City and Lyon County.

Mutual aid agreement: This is the typical agreement between two neighboring jurisdictions, with a pre-approved contract that defines the level of aid that is generally available, the conditions under which aid is available and any costs associated with mutual aid. The Reno Fire Department has mutual aid agreements with over a dozen local, state and federal agencies. Under such an agreement if one jurisdiction needs help from another once they arrive on scene, they simply request it and the aid is sent if resources are available. After a certain threshold of time, equipment or staffing there would be financial implications for the agency asking for the help. Those details are all worked out in the agreement.

Automatic aid agreement: Automatic aid is an automatic response from one agency to another that augments service delivery and provides for in-kind return of service. It assures that the closest resources respond to an emergency. It is not intended as a standard basic service delivery. Under an automatic aid agreement both agencies are automatically alerted at the first call to dispatch, regardless of jurisdiction, and respond simultaneously to the same call for service. No automatic aid agreement was necessary with the Consolidated Fire Department. Under consolidation the closest apparatus has responded regardless of jurisdiction, eliminating duplication of service in the city of Reno and TMFPD.

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