The City of Columbus Fire Department and the Columbus Township Fire Department are collaborating on an automatic aid agreement between agencies. The agreement stipulates that a dual agency response will occur for fire service incidents within both City of Columbus and Columbus Township boundaries with each agency agreeing to send a single apparatus staffed by career firefighters to the neighboring agency having jurisdictional authority.

Mutual aid agreements between Bartholomew County fire agencies and the City of Columbus Fire Department have long been established for incidents that require additional manpower and specialized operational resources. For mutual aid requests, the agency requesting aid must request that a specific agency receive a dispatch through the Bartholomew County Emergency Operations Center. Through automatic aid, the partnering agencies with be dispatched simultaneously during the initial incident dispatch. Through the automatic aid agreement, automatic aid is provided at no cost to the partnering agencies and impacts operational response with no reimbursement requirements.

City of Columbus Fire Chief, Chief Andy Lay and Columbus Township Fire Chief, Chief Dave Thompson, both concur that an automatic aid agreement will be beneficial for both agencies and ultimately improves service delivery in each respective service area while also increasing firefighter safety related to staffing requirements for structure fires.

“One of the direct advantages of automatic aid is the ability to reach the required number of trained personnel at an emergency scene more quickly,” said Chief Dave Thompson. Chief Andy Lay believes the increased number of firefighters will help to fill critical positions at emergency incidents. “Automatic aid allows our departments to acquire additional fire companies on the scene faster, which allows us to assign key roles under the incident command structure,” said Chief Andy Lay.

If approved, the automatic aid agreement will be in effect twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for a period of one year. The Columbus Township Fire Department is currently staffed twenty-four hours a day by full time firefighters. The City of Columbus Fire Department and the Columbus Township Fire Department are currently the only fire agencies within Bartholomew County with twenty-four-hour staffing.

Pending approval by the Columbus Township Board and the City of Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety, the Columbus Township Fire Department and the City of Columbus Fire Department will establish agreed upon standard operating procedures and implement a dual agency training program.

For additional information about the Columbus Fire Department, visit