Scottsdale City Council approves system to improve fire, emergency response

A faster, more efficient method of enabling first responders to get to emergency situations was adopted by Scottsdale City Council through an intergovernmental agreement with the Regional Metropolitan Phoenix Fire Service Automatic Aid.

The local municipality entered into the agreement on Tuesday, Dec. 5 at City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., as Scottsdale City Council approved the mutual aid pact as part of its consent agenda.

The Regional Metropolitan Phoenix Fire Service Automatic Aid authorizes other municipalities, fire districts and governmental entities to render services when home jurisdictions may be unavailable or need further assistance, public safety officials say.

This provision replaces the former auto aid agreement, which was terminated by the Scottsdale Fire Department, according to the Dec. 5 city council report.

However, an automatic aid system has been in use since 2004, which was designed to use the closest appropriate fire department deployed to emergencies within participating jurisdictional boundaries, the report said.

The Scottsdale Fire Department has been the contributing agency.

The new agreement commenced Dec. 1, 2017 and continues through Dec. 1, 2022, regardless of the recorded date, the report said, noting the benefits of using a computer aided dispatch and automatic vehicle locator system allows the closest available, most appropriate unit to be dispatched instantly to a site of an emergency.

The agreement automatically renews unless terminated by formal parties in writing 120 days in advance, effective on the 121st day, the report noted.

However, fire department officials say, a request of additional funding annually may be necessary based on increases or decreases in calls for service or system infrastructure cost-sharing, the report detailed.

The system is designed to be reciprocal and without cost for services rendered. If there’s a large-scale incident calling for a federal declaration of specific resources or personnel, there will be a means to recover part or all of required additional resources, the report stated.

The agreement — commonly used nationwide by municipalities — includes assistance in responding to fires, medical emergencies, hazardous materials incidents, rescue and extrication situations and other emergency incidents within standard services provided by fire departments in the automatic aid system.

System benefits include:

  • Assures fire service follows common operating guidelines and radio system methods
  • Uniform command and control of all incident resources within the system
  • Uses existing resources better for equitable response times
  • Improves regional coverage
  • Improves response times to citizens/businesses
  • Lowers current and future costs due to sharing common resources ie: facilities, crews, training, specialty equipment.
  • Continues control of city resources, programs, and personnel.

Northeast Valley Editorial Assistant Delarita Ford can be reached by e-mail at

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.