Automatic response between local fire departments underway

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By Stephanie Cavin

Lansing Township News staff writer

LANSING TOWNSHIP—Lansing Charter Township and five surrounding local governments are working on plans to create automatic response between fire departments.

Automatic response gives the nearest fire personnel or department the right to approach a fire incident, regardless of government or local jurisdiction. Without automatic response, firefighters are subject to the legalities between township and county lines. This restricts them from offering immediate resources to a fire outside of their government margins.

Lansing Township has been participating in automatic response with Delta Township since 1991. According to John Daher, Lansing Township supervisor, the partnership has worked out nicely.

Currently, Lansing Township has 14 full time fire fighters as well as Fire Chief Rick Curry. There are also 13-25 part-time firefighters at any given time. “A part-time firefighter is either someone volunteering for their love of firefighting or someone who is waiting to become employed as a full-time firefighter,” said Daher.

Lansing Township is split into five small divisions, surrounded by Lansing and East Lansing.

Daher explained that while they may get to the fire quicker than larger departments, they might only have two fire fighters on duty.

Michelle Butcher, a resident of Lansing Township believes the switch to complete automatic response should raise no issues. “It is common sense. If you have the potential to use more resources, why wouldn’t you?”

Amy Johnson, a student of MSU and former resident of Lansing Township said the switch is about creating local safety. “You are dealing with the lives of your neighbors. It shouldn’t matter if they live across an invisible line the government created.”

Daher said that while he agree with the locals and believes the cities are working towards the same concept, the process will still take time.

“It may take a year. It may take two. There are a lot of things to iron out.”

Despite, the multiple benefits automatic aid can provide the city, Daher says the process isn’t as simple as it sounds. “We have six local governments who have been doing things their own way for 50 to 100 years. We’re different and were trying to come together but it takes time to work out the differences.”

 

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