City and County Fire Departments Look to Help Each Other

City Clerk Robbie Hume, City Fire Chief Bobby Hume, Mayor GoodlettCouncilman and committee chairman Ken Evans, councilman Thomas Vaughn, Police Chief Atkins

Spurred by recent tragic accidents and delays caused by trains blocking crossings, the Public Safety Committee of the City of Lawrenceburg took the first steps on Tuesday to discuss aid agreements between the county and city fire departments.

City Fire Chief Bobby Hume presented the committee with two aid agreements that both the city and county departments have been discussing.  The mutual aid agreement, according to Bobby, just solidifies the already in place verbal agreement between the two agencies, which allows the county or city fire departments to call on one another if deemed necessary.

This new agreement also allows more inter-operability.  “We need to have something more substantial,” Bobby said.  The committee approved it and will go before the full city council in their next meeting.

Bobby then presented for discussion an automatic aid addendum.  The addendum would allow dispatch to automatically call both county and city fire units during daytime hours when volunteer help is most limited and for areas like Tyrone and Jenny Lillard where it is quicker for city units to respond.

The addendum would shave approximately 3-4 minutes off the time of calling backup units through the mutual aid agreement where one agency would have to respond first and then request the other for help.  It would also let the city fire department determine whether a train is blocking crossings first as the city fire station is located near the tracks.

However, as written, there were concerns that if the city gets called to areas out in the county that are a distance from the city, they could be left short if another emergency arises.  There is also less control of the number of responding units than what would be done through the standard mutual aid agreement.

City Clerk Robbie Hume and the rest of the committee decided to look into rewording the automatic aid addendum to limit this problem by only allowing automatic calls for injury and entrapment vehicle wrecks on US127 Bypass and Versailles Road area towards the county line as well as hazmat situations.  A reworded version will be presented to the council for approval at a later time.

Police Chief Chris Atkins also discussed the large and lengthy hiring process the police department is conducting.  He explained that more officers will be retiring and possibly moving on to bigger agencies, which will again leave them with limited manpower.  He wanted the committee to be aware that he wants to start the process of bringing in new officers before losing more.

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