City to consider mutual aid agreement with Air Guard fire department

City Commissioners will be asked to approve an updated mutual aid agreement with the Montana Air National Guard fire department during their Sept. 5 meeting.

Annually, Guard officials ask Great Falls Fire Rescue to update contact information and response capabilities.

The Air Force sometimes updates their own regulations that require updating the mutual aid agreements, which is the case for the GFFR agreement.

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The changes to the agreement include a provision that the Guard will provide their own incident safety officer to be on scene with any of their personnel performing emergency work off base, according to GFFR.

The Guard also included language to address unsafe acts, sharing non-encrypted radios for communication on scene and not being held liable if exposed to firefighting foams if used, according to GFFR.

GFFR has had a mutual aid agreement with the Guard fire department since at least 1995. The agreement is reviewed annually for accuracy, response capabilities and to address any concerns from either party.

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The agreement is beneficial to both departments and can be use to respond to incidents when one party needs manpower or specialized response capabilities that can be deployed to offer assistance, according to GFFR. Assistance has been requested multiple times over the years and both parties have trained together.

There generally isn’t a financial cost to GFFR or the Guard through the agreement and most requests are handled by crews on shift.

In the event of a long duration incident where GFFR is requested to an emergency and incurs a financial burden, there are provisions for GFFR to seek reimbursement.