In central Ohio, most departments participate in automatic response agreements. These have worked well for many decades, assuring the closest emergency vehicles are dispatched to an emergency regardless of jurisdiction. Area departments work under common procedures, facilitating effective emergency scene operations. This program also saves tax dollars by reducing redundant services.
"Mutual-Aid" is the term in more common usage than automatic response. This form of reciprocal agreement is similar, but involves a more formal "requesting" of help from another department, whereas automatic response works as if all fire departments are part of the same organization.
Both kinds of reciprocal agreements afford access to resources that smaller departments sometimes cannot afford or run volume cannot justify. For example, any emergency in Worthington's fire protection district involving explosive materials will result in the Columbus Division of Fire Bomb Squad and its specially trained technicians rendering mutual assistance to us. Conversely, Worthington provides technicians specially trained in making close entry during hazardous materials incidents. This "entry team" function is performed in conjunction with other specialties such as decontamination that are carried out by other fire departments.
We are fortunate to have such a system in central Ohio. There are numerous jurisdictions across the country that either do not participate in mutual-aid with other fire departments, or have to work through a cumbersome system of notifications before the needed help is on the road.
2023 Hazmat Incident with Worthington, Upper Arlington, Jackson Township, Franklin Township, Norwich Township, Westerville, Jerome Township, and Marysville Fire Departments