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Fire Districts Collaborate to Speed Up Response Time

Paige Browning
Spokane Public Radio

Firefighters will respond faster to fires and medical emergencies thanks to a new countywide collaboration. Fire departments representing Spokane, Spokane Valley, and county districts 8 and 9 will serve across borders.

The fire departments and their individual unions have signed an ‘automatic aid’ agreement that takes affect by the end of July. Spokane Fire Chief Bobby Williams says fire and emergency calls come into one dispatch center, and now crews will be sent based on who is closest to the incident.

Williams: “If a call is in the city, and a District 9 resource is closer, District 9 will go, and visa versa. So, that’s the benefit to the public, is you’ll get a quicker response. It really doesn’t make any difference whose name is on the side of the truck, when somebody needs help… they want trained personnel to arrive.”

Williams says the agencies have collaborated a lot recently: when the plane went down in the Spokane River, when a boy drowned in the river last week, and during two fires on the city’s edge last week. And fire leaders stressed the agreement comes at a crucial time: heading into fire season.

Williams: “The personnel from all of the agencies have been working together on training, learning each other’s equipment and their operations and things over the last six to eight months.”

Williams says they have talked about collaboration for over a decade, ever since the large firestorm of 1991. This agreement is between the city of Spokane, Spokane Valley, and county fire District’s 8 and 9.

Copyright 2015 Spokane Public Radio

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