The Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District Board of Fire Commissioners unanimously approved a mutual aid agreement with City of Reno and will forward the agreement to the City for their consideration. TMFPD has established mutual aid agreements with surrounding area Fire Departments to help ensure that emergency response is available when the size, type or circumstances of an event exceeds the ability of any one agency to safely and effectively respond.
“It is important that mutual aid agreements are flexible enough that responding Fire Chiefs can make decisions when the time of crisis unfolds,” said Fire Chief Charles A. Moore, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District.
Understanding that the Reno City Council’s concern was to avoid the possibility of improperly using mutual aid as a primary, or automatic aid, response, the Board of Fire Commissioners added language that specifically prohibits the use of this agreement for primary response or automatic aid. In addition, as requested by the Reno City Council, the revised agreement approved by the Board includes the Sierra Fire Protection District. However, to provide flexibility for responding emergency personnel for both agencies, the proposed agreement maintains the time period of 12 hours before mutual reimbursements begin, reflecting standard practice with other mutual aid agreements in the region, rather than the 3 hours proposed exclusively for the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District by the City. In addition, a requirement that a career officer needs to be on scene before a mutual aid response will be dispatched was not incorporated, due to the delays that could be caused for incidents like the recent Pinehaven Fire. If a second unit cannot be dispatched until a career officer is on the scene, even in situations of known multiple alarms, structure fires or natural disasters, critical minutes can be lost in fire fighting, and lives and property could be placed at risk.
The Board expressed hope that by addressing the Council’s major concerns, an agreement could be reached that effectively meets the operational requirements of the fire service professionals serving the community.