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Fire department pact earns council approval
fire truck

The local fire fighting and emergency response efforts got a boost Tuesday night when the Turlock City Council approved a partnership between the Turlock Fire Department and three other agencies to provide automatic aid, regardless of district boundaries.

By a 5-0 vote, the council gave the go-ahead for an agreement that will have the Turlock, Ceres, Modesto and Stanislaus Consolidated fire departments providing aid to the different jurisdictions in the case of a major fire, disaster, or other emergency. Under the agreement, the closest agency would respond to an emergency with one or more crews regardless if the incident was out of the boundaries of the particular district. The crews would serve as additional staffing during an incident and would only be allowed to seek compensation from the city if the incident lasted more than 12 hours.

Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman said the advantages of the partnership are that the fire departments can plan and operate as a large single organization, while each agency maintains local control of personnel and assets.

“This directly improves the level of service to citizens and improves the safety and operational abilities of our firefighters,” Lohman wrote in a city report outlining the proposal.

The agreement is contingent that it would not affect any of the fire departments’ abilities to respond to emergencies in their own jurisdictions.

The fire departments would all be working under a standardized operation that includes training, communications, and procedures.

The agreement is similar to one the Turlock Fire Department has with Merced County in that both agencies respond to incidents on Highway 99.

The city councils in Modesto and Ceres, as well as the Stanislaus Consolidated board of directors have all approved the agreement.