Montana Intra and Inter State Mutual Aid Update:
Considerable work has gone into the Montana Mutual Aid plan from many Fire Chief’s throughout Montana for the last 9 plus years. Along with Chief’s we continually invite and encourage continued involvement from DES, EMS, Law Enforcement, Counties, County Commissioners, the general public, “our customers”, and whomever else is willing to come to Mutual Aid Meetings, participate and be engaged.
Montana has laws in place that allow Intra State Mutual Aid. The laws, our mutual aid documents, and any other documents found in the “Blue” Book are NIMS compliant.
As with anything to do with Incident Command, we also have implemented and use the ICS structure in all responses, not just Mutual Aid.
Legislation in place permits us to respond to Mutual Aid calls without the need of MOU’s or other agreements that are not already in place. We work within the systems that have been in place without impeding or damaging any relationships. In fact we are about building relationships.
Montana is a Frontier State. We have communities that have as few at 10 residents to several thousand. We have to be very flexible because of our vast differences. We have done a very good job working with our neighbors, partners, the public and customers.
Enabling legislation will be introduced during the 2007 that will allow Interstate Mutual Aid. We feel we are moving in the right direction and will continue to work with our neighbors and customers to continue to do the right thing.
Also, we have continuing involvement with the Idaho and Wyoming Fire Chiefs’ Associations regarding coordination of complementing interstate mutual aid legislation in neighboring states.
In Montana, statewide intra state mutual aid is explicitly authorized in applicable sections of Montana Code Annotated. Mutual aid in Montana is statutory, and supplements existing local and regional agreements (which are encouraged and also authorized by applicable sections of MCA).
We can also talk about our state wide interoperable commo in support of MA, which has been widely adopted and practiced for more than 15 years.
Further, we have adopted standard resource typing in concert with interstate mutual aid.
We also have common command procedures which are used with intra state mutual aid including extensive safety standard operating procedures, i.e. Risk Management, Communications, May Day, and others.
Although there seems to be some concern that we have kept our mutual aid system simple, it works for us. As I understood from the Denver meeting, that is what you were looking for, something that works for our State.
We encourage you to review our Mutual Aid book (FOG) posted. This document is reviewed and updated twice a year, March and November by all the participants in Montana Mutual Aid.
Montana Mutual Aid was already developed and laws in place prior to the Denver meeting. We shared with you our information and how simple it can be.
We look forward to working with our neighbors and would extend an invitation to any and all that would like to participate in Montana Mutual Aid. Our meetings are always the first weekend in March and the first weekend in November. Included in registration fees will be all your meals and copies of the FOG.
If you are interested in more information or would like to have more information about our next meeting, please contact me at (406) 431-2540, Eastgate@initco.net or PO Box 735, East Helena, MT 59635.
Chief Eastgate Volunteer Fire Department