By Anna Smith
The County of Forty Mile No. 8 entered a mutual aid agreement with the City of Medicine Hat for fire and related rescues on December 20.
“This is for the provision of providing specialty rescue operations. So if we were to request their dive team, if we were to request their dangerous goods team, then this sets out the rules and billing and all of that,” said Fire Chief Mark Myra.
“So the last time we called them out, there was a fair amount of discussion and phone calls that had to happen before they would actually launch their team,” said Myra. “And one of those meetings, the billing aspect, and at what rate and so that negotiation had to happen on the fly.”
The agreement allows for such terms to be already set, so in the event that Myra or the Forty Mile CAO are unavailable, these phone calls will be unnecessary. It also contains provisions for Council to have input into these services prior to them happening.
The agreement is similar to agreements which may be proposed to neighbouring counties in the new year, said Myra, though he notes that while those would be mutual, this agreement is a “one-way street” in regards to the rollout of services from the City.
While there have been agreements in the past, this will be the first formalized agreement.
“If somebody calls for us, we’re not going to say no, because we haven’t figured out the billing yet. That’s just not what we do,” said Myra. “So we’ll provide it first and then we’ll worry about the billing after the fact. This just kind of puts it all in one place, so everybody knows what’s going on prior to occurring. That way, less conversation and less negotiation has to happen when we really don’t have time to negotiate.”