PALM BAY, Florida — The City of Palm Bay and Brevard County officials say that fire and emergency medical response services in Palm Bay and South Brevard County will benefit from a mutual agreement between city and county providers that will significantly improve emergency response to the public.
Effective February 11, 2013 under an inter-local agreement, all fire and emergency medical calls will be handled by the closest unit, regardless of jurisdictional boundaries. The agreement creates an Automatic Aid Response Area (AARA) from U.S. Highway 192 south to the county line, west to the Brevard County border, and east to the Indian River Lagoon, excluding the city of Melbourne and the town of Malabar; and allows fire-rescue personnel within this geographic boundary from both city and county jurisdictions to respond if they are the closest units to the emergency. “The citizen that needs helps does not care if the rescuer is from Palm Bay or Brevard County, they just want help fast,” said Palm Bay Fire Chief Jim Stables. “By dropping jurisdictional restrictions we are able to deliver better service to the public that is mutually beneficial to all of the citizens.”
The parameters of the so-called “Auto-Aid” agreement are defined in a six page document that includes pre-defined unit response assignments, command structure, service standards, non-required responses, and other legal definitions that ultimately facilitate the sharing of resources between the city and county. “It is a mutually beneficial agreement that ensures the citizen receives the best possible response during an emergency,” said Brevard County Fire Chief Larry Collins. “This demonstrates a highly efficient and effective use of government resources for the overall good of the public.”
The geographic boundary includes five Palm Bay Fire-Rescue stations and seven Brevard County Fire-Rescue stations. It effectively doubles resource capabilities by joining 12 emergency response locations with shared resources that will maximize the use and efficiency of fire-rescue services in this area. “Every fire-rescue response agency is having this discussion,” Chief Stables added. “We are all faced with shrinking budgets and increasing demands for service. This is the best and most efficient way to continue to deliver this service.”