Tennessee City Management Association
For Immediate Release Contact: Pat Hardy
June 15, 2011 (423) 854-9882
Brentwood/Franklin honored with TCMA Excellence in Municipal Government Award
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -While the concept of mutual aid is a long standing practice in fire service, the fire departments of Franklin and Brentwood have demonstrated exemplary cooperation and innovation through an Automatic Aid agreement that has resulted in added resources and greater security for the residents of both communities. The cities of Brentwood and Franklin will be recognized by The Tennessee City Management Association (TCMA) with an award for Excellence in Municipal Government, which will be presented at 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 15, at the 72nd Annual Conference of the Tennessee Municipal League in Murfreesboro. The award is presented by TCMA each year to cities that operate with professional management and have increased the effectiveness of local government through the development of unique and creative programs.
In 2008, the cities of Brentwood and Franklin completed a feasibility study on the formation of an Automatic Aid Agreement between the two cities. Both departments had long provided mutual aid to one another under both state and interlocal agreements which offered assistance with equipment and personnel from one jurisdiction to another during a significant incident, such as a structure fire, when requested. Automatic aid takes this level of cooperation one step further. Under this agreement, targeted areas or zones within each city deemed as "significant risk" are designated for simultaneous dispatch and response from both Brentwood and Franklin fire units, regardless of whose jurisdiction the incident falls within.
A study was conducted to determine the most significant fire risk areas that could be responded to in each city by both fire departments considering factors such as population density, type of construction, required fire flow (water supply), and historical response data. Significant areas of concern covered in Brentwood include the commercial area north of Cool Springs Mall, the Heritage senior living community and Ravenwood High School.
TCMA Excellence Award
June 15, 2011
Significant areas of concern covered in Franklin include the entire Cool Springs Mall and adjoining commercial and office development areas.
These areas were agreed upon by both parties and mapped as "Automatic Aid Response Zones". The automatic response does not apply to all emergency calls received by each fire department. Automatic Aid response into the neighboring department's jurisdiction within the designated zones is limited to confirmed or "probable" structure fires as determined by the dispatcher based on information obtained from the reporting party.
The original automatic aid agreement was approved by both cities in June 2009. Both departments have continued to improve operations between jurisdictions through inter-agency training, simultaneous dispatch, and enhanced radio communications.
Among the numerous mutual benefits to such an agreement are:
§ Simultaneous dispatch of both departments within the designated area, thus providing a higher concentration of resources to an incident more quickly.
§ Provides better service to both communities by increasing available first-alarm fire protection at no additional cost.
§ Facilitates an opportunity to communicate, work, and train with the neighboring department which helps satisfy interoperability requirements set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
§ Enables both departments to count the other's resources toward their available firefighting force, which can translate into additional ISO rating points with no additional investment from either community.
§ The agreement requires "annual" and "as-needed" reviews of the document in order to ensure continued relevance and recommend modifications as needed. This was done in July of 2010 and again in March of 2011.
TCMA Excellence Award
June 15, 2011
During a recent meeting, the Franklin Fire Department requested an amendment to the agreement to incorporate additional high-density commercial area within their jurisdiction. As a result, both cities recently approved an amendment to the automatic aid agreement to expand the existing coverage area to incorporate most of the Cool Springs commercial area located south of the Mall.
In the 22 months since the agreement was authorized, Brentwood has responded into Franklin on automatic aid calls 19 times. Franklin has responded into Brentwood on automatic aid 10 times. In addition, Franklin has provided a traditional mutual aid response into Brentwood 12 times, whereas Brentwood has responded into Franklin on mutual aid 5 times. "It just makes sense," the chiefs of both fire departments told Tennessee Town & City in a 2009 interview. "It's working well," said Franklin Fire Chief Rocky Garzarek. "I've had at least four cities contact me recently for information about the agreement to see if it would work in their communities." "In a fire, every second counts," agrees Brentwood Fire Chief Kenny Lane. "Our goal is to reduce response times and ultimately improve safety in both cities."
The Tennessee City Management Association is an organization of administrators and managers dedicated to professionalism in the management of local government in Tennessee. Its membership is 120 members strong.