Mutual aid agreements between Eddy County Fire and Rescue (ECFR) and the City of Carlsbad and Artesia fire departments were approved Oct. 19 by Eddy County’s Board of County Commissioners.
ECFR met with both departments to update mutual aid agreements for fire and emergency response calls in Carlsbad, Artesia and Eddy County, wrote ECFR Chief Joshua Mack in a memo to commissioners.
“Those agreements were a few years old, so we just updated them to show for the services that we provide for each other,” he said.
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Per the agreements, response to requests for aid by all parties would be subject to prior emergency commitments, the availability of the equipment, personnel, and other resources at the time an emergency request is made.
“The first department on-scene should establish, give an appropriate size-up and initiate an incident action plan,” the agreements read.
The agreements stated anyone responding to an automatic or mutual aid call should be a firefighter and certified in hazardous materials management.
Reported structure fires, wildland fires with structures threatened, wildland fires on high fire danger or red flag days and technical or specialized rescues are part of the automatic aid agreements between ECFR and both departments.
“If we have a structure fire in north Eddy County, then the City of Artesia automatically mutual aids us, which means they are toned (sent out) at the same time we are. They have designated resources that they send us. Same thing for Carlsbad and we work to return the favor to them when they need it,” Mack said.
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Mack said ECFR does not provide emergency medical services (EMS). The Carlsbad Fire Department responds to EMS calls in southern Eddy County and the Artesia Fire Department responds to emergency calls in northern Eddy County.
He said the mutual aid agreements benefitted citizens in both communities and the county.
“In that we have adequate resources available to our entities,” Mack said.
Mutual aid agreements are not limited to cities and counties in New Mexico, said Emily Sand, operations officer with the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DSHEM).
She said New Mexico provided aid to the Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness for relief during Hurricane Ida.
The hurricane hit Louisiana Aug. 26 through Sept. 4 of this year and relief efforts were part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Interstate 6 Emergency Response Support Plan (IERSP), Sand indicated.
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“IERSP is a working group that represents an agreement between the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas,” she said.
“States in FEMA Region 6 developed and maintain a process to quickly mobilize response resources to support each other during a disaster that clearly exceeds the response capacity of one state.”
Sand said states follow the existing Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) process when requesting state-to-state support under IERSP.
“Through EMAC, states can share resources from all disciplines, protect personnel who deploy, and be reimbursed for mission related costs,” she said.
Mike Smith can be reached at 575-628-5546 or by email at [email protected] or @ArgusMichae on Twitter.