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City of Bloomington, Indiana

For more information, please contact

Chief Jason Moore, Bloomington Fire Department, moorja@bloomington.in.gov, 812-349-9763

Bloomington Fire Department to Require Standardized Practices

Bloomington, Ind. - In an effort to elevate and standardize fire safety throughout Monroe County, Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore is seeking formalized written automatic aid agreements with other Monroe County fire departments. Surrounding fire departments are invited to join the Bloomington Fire Department (BFD) and meet National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements in place at BFD and enter into written automatic aid agreements with the Bloomington Fire Department. Automatic aid is currently in practice throughout the county. But without such standards, effective September 1, BFD will no longer request automatic aid into the city from other county fire departments.

“Standardization and interoperability are important. Firefighting professionals learned from major events such as 9/11 or the Charleston 9 that we must be able to communicate and operate seamlessly with each other,” stated Chief Moore. “That means all first responders must have the same radios and compatible, comparable equipment, and be on the same page concerning emergency scene activities. Examples include personal protective equipment that not only protects firefighters but clearly identifies their function in an emergency. Common operational Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs), standardized communication equipment, and firefighter training/certification levels -- all are vitally important to providing the best public safety response possible. We believe everyone in Monroe County deserves that. With written agreements among the departments we can ensure that each truck that rolls on to a scene is properly staffed with the right number of well- equipped, consistently trained firefighters.”  

BFD offers thousands of hours of firefighter training  to all Monroe County fire departments every year.  All departments are welcome to participate at little to no cost. “Think of a fire department as a football team with units,” said Chief Moore. “The units are responsible for covering different parts of the game, they practice together, wear uniforms that identify their job on the field, share the same performance standards and the ultimate goal of winning the game. They know exactly what each player’s role is and what they are expected to bring to the field in order to win the game. Interoperability is vital. Firefighting units need that same kind of interoperability in an emergency. In a firefighter's world that ‘win’ is saving lives and property.”

Bloomington residents can expect the same high level of fire protection service to continue without disruption. The long-standing practice of mutual aid -- calling in help from neighboring fire departments as needed -- will not change.

“Ideally, we would like to get automatic aid agreements in place with all Monroe County departments sooner rather than later. As soon as they agree to adhere to the necessary standards, we are ready to get those agreements in place,” finished Chief Moore.

There are three types of aid among fire departments:

  • Outside aid - One entity helps another through a formalized written agreement.  When aid is provided through this type of agreement the receiving entity is required to pay the providing entity. This method is rarely used.

  • Mutual aid - Standard agreement used by most fire departments in the nation.  This formalized written agreement establishes a way for departments to help each when additional resources are needed with no financial burden placed on either entity. BFD has this agreement between all departments in Monroe County (except Indian Creek, who has yet to sign it) and with Bedford.  The foundation of this agreement is that the agency requiring assistance must actively request additional assistance.

  • Automatic aid - Similar to mutual aid, except it is initiated at dispatch automatically sending the closest resources without the receiving entity asking for them. These agreements erase jurisdictional boundaries and provide the most efficient service. To fully meet this type of aid, jurisdictions develop functioning interoperability policies and procedures. This includes the use of the same level of technology, common operational Standard Operating Guidelines (SOGs), minimum staffing standards for all participants, and at a minimum quarterly multi-jurisdictional training on fireground operations.   

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