Friday, April 13, 2012

Fire agencies seek new auto-aid pact

Tri-party agreement calls for automatic responses

Express Staff Writer

Mike Elle

With votes of approval Wednesday from Ketchum Rural Fire District commissioners, a new agreement is on its way to providing automatic aid among the district, the Ketchum Fire Department and Wood River Fire & Rescue.

"If you need help for any incident, you can [currently] call for it from any agency," Ketchum Fire Chief Mike Elle said at the meeting. "Provided they have the resources, they'll send them. This agreement allows that to happen automatically. The incident commander doesn't have to remember to do it. They can concentrate on what they're doing on scene."

Ketchum and Ketchum Rural personnel are city employees and are supervised by the Ketchum Fire Chief.

Ketchum Rural Fire and Wood River Fire & Rescue currently have an auto-aid agreement for a mid-valley area, from Timber Way to Ohio Gulch Road, including Greenhorn and part of East Fork. Under that agreement, both agencies are called out for medical, fire and motor vehicle issues.

The agreement, if approved, would provide an automatic response by Ketchum and Ketchum Rural for structure fires within Wood River's jurisdiction and an automatic EMS response to Wood River's mid-valley zone. Wood River would provide automatic response for structure fires within the other agencies' jurisdictions and automatic EMS response to the mid-valley zone covered by Ketchum.

"The purpose of this agreement is not the acquisition of more taxable property by any other jurisdiction, but is to create an enhanced response capability by utilizing each agencies [sic] similar command structure, firefighter training standards and depth of personnel to provide increased firefighter safety and higher quality emergency services ... ," the proposed agreement reads.

The agreement would not require agencies to respond if resources are unavailable.

Elle said that nationwide, the number of paid on-call firefighters is diminishing. That, coupled with their lessening availability to respond to calls—especially during the workday—has led officials to find ways to ensure coverage. Adequate coverage is needed not only for the incident itself, but also for responders' safety, he said.

"We get more firefighters on the scene sooner in order to perform rescues, contain and control fires and reduce risk of injury to our folks," Elle said in an interview. "It helps us with collaboration and cooperation."

The tri-party agreement wouldn't be a major departure from current operations, because agencies typically call on each other for aid.

"It memorializes the way we've been behaving for the last 20 years," said Commissioner Chris Stephens.

The agreement also must be approved by Wood River Fire Protection District commissioners and the Ketchum City Council.

The issue is expected to be on the council's agenda May 7.

Elle said it would take about 30 days to get changes made in the dispatch system and complete training.

Rebecca Meany:

About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads

 Local Weather 
Search archives:

Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.