Here’s how fire departments work together to keep you safe

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Around 4:20 p.m. on Sunday, January 1, a call came in about a fire in a residential shop in Whitewood, SD. The fire was on Weyrich Lane and there were no injuries, according to the Whitewood Fire Department.

With the help from fire departments in the area, it only took about an hour for the fire to get under control. The cause is still under investigation.

Whitewood’s fire department didn’t fight the fire alone. It had the help of neighboring communities, and the additional tools, people, and resources they could bring to bear.

This is called mutual aid, and it’s one of the reasons that fire departments are as effective as they are.

Check out these photos from the Whitewood fire:

So, what is mutual aid?

The concept of mutual aid dates back to colonial times. Communities would become overwhelmed by a fire, and their neighbors would step in to help.

Mutual aid makes it possible to get resources on a fire that a given department may not have. It also saves money because not every department needs, or can afford, to have all of its own equipment.

“You don’t have to have every single piece of equipment because you’re able to share that equipment with your neighbors. And also, as far as insurance ratings, that can affect that, as far as the amount of personnel that are responding to the incident,” said Jerome Harvey, Fire Administrator for Penn. Co. Fire.

Mutual aid is more than just a concept, it’s a legal agreement between departments.

That agreement is put into place long before any fires happen so that when one does, everybody is on the same page.


Categories: Local News