The Colusa City Council recently approved an agreement that allows the Colusa Fire Department and the Sacramento River Fire Protection District to respond to local emergencies together, despite their jurisdictions.
The decision came after months of discussion between the city and the two departments, said Sacramento River Fire Protection District Chief Jeffery Winters.
“This is the first step in investigating the possibility of the two departments merging in the future,” Winters said.
The automatic aid agreement was passed unanimously by the council in early June, creating an ad-hoc Committee and a six-month arrangement between the two departments to see how effective it is to have both respond to calls.
Winters said the agreement is beneficial because it gets the departments working together and increases the number of firefighters that can respond to an emergency.
“The core group of responders from both departments is not real high,” Winters said. “In order to increase these numbers we decided to have both departments work together.”
While the departments will be working together in emergency situations, not all incoming calls will be handled by both departments.
“Responses will depend on the type of call,” Mayor Greg Ponciano said.
According to Ponciano, medical calls will still be dispatched by jurisdiction but all fires, structural calls and auto accident calls will be dispatched to both departments.
Winters said the majority of calls that come into his department are for emergency medical services.
Once the six month agreement is coming to an end, the chiefs of each department plan to sit down and discuss how effective the agreement was.
“Hopefully it continues,” Winters said. “That is our ultimate goal.”
Ponciano also said he would like to see the agreement get extended past the original six month term.
“It’s very refreshing to see this play out,” Ponciano said. “Each department has strengths they can share so I see this as a win-win.”