Fire departments encouraged to work together
As discussion about automatic aid between the city and township fire departments continued Monday night at the Eudora City Council meeting, Mayor Ron Conner said he hoped progress had been made during a recent meeting between city and township leaders.
The Council meeting earlier this month included concerns about how the Eudora Fire Department and the Eudora Township Fire Department had been working together. While the county straightened out address issues with its computer system, the city's fire department had discontinued auto aid, which meant the township fire department would only arrive on a call if city firefighters determined it was necessary upon their arrival.
City Fire Chief Spencer McCabe said the time would also be used to evaluate how the departments worked together on the scene.
Township Fire Chief Barry Larson said Monday night he wasn't happy auto aid was shut down and that other cooperative issues should have been addressed before the move was made.
Conner said he had suggested at the earlier meeting several steps the departments could take in the spirit of working together, including getting auto aid back on. In the short term, Conner said the two departments should work out their standard operating procedures. In the long term, Conner said working together would mean joint training and working on other issues together.
Although auto aid was dependent upon Douglas County getting its computer system back on, Larson and McCabe said they hoped the issues could be straightened out in the next two or three weeks. Larson said he hoped in the future to make the city fire department part of the township's auto aid for proximate parts of the township.
With Eudora's growth into the surrounding countryside, it was becoming increasingly important for the two departments to work together, Council member Scott Hopson said.
However, City Administrator Mike Yanez took the opportunity to squelch a rumor that the city intended to take over the township fire department and EMS service. It was a rumor, he said, that was making people unnecessarily fearful.
The mayor also asked McCabe and Eudora EMS director Amy Miller to resolve issues as to how dispatch was notified someone was answering a medical call. During the daytime, the fire department responds on behalf of Eudora EMS.McCabe said he had planned to report to the Council at its next meeting about insurance coverage of firefighters running EMS calls, an issue Miller also called into question.
During the discussion, Eudora township firefighter Sue Coleman asked the city to question how the city fire department was spending its time and money, information Yanez said was open to the public through the city budget monthly and year-end reports. Moreover, he said expenditures like fire trucks went through the City Council and budget process.
Concerns with the department and its leadership that arose Monday were better addressed separately from that meeting, Conner said.