Greater Lafayette Fire Departments working to reduce response time

An "automatic aid" agreement between five Tippecanoe County Fire Departments is working to reduce response times during emergencies.

Posted: Aug 11, 2020 6:19 PM
Updated: Aug 11, 2020 6:23 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - After more than a year of planning, fire departments across Tippecanoe County are coming together.

Five departments have signed a new "automatic aid" agreement that will soon go into effect.

It's a measure the departments are taking to help reduce response time during emergencies.

"If you're having that heart attack or if your house is on fire, you don't really care if that firetruck has West Lafayette Fire on the side of it or Lafayette Fire," said Lafayette Fire Department's Chief Richard Doyle. "They need the closest company coming to your location to help."

The system will be controlled through the county's computer-automated dispatch system, or CAD.

West Lafayette Fire Department Chief Tim Heath said the system essentially eliminates jurisdictions in the event of an emergency.

"The computer CAD system would kick in and tell our dispatcher the next available units are possibly from Wabash Township or Tippecanoe Township or the City of Lafayette or Purdue University," said Heath.

Heath said this benefit the community.

"We're going to make it safer for our people. We'll make it safer for the community. We'll hopefully be able to have a fire do less damage and put that fire out quicker and more efficiently," said Heath.

Wabash Township Fire Chief Ed Ward said the system will help relieve stress from departments responding to multiple calls.

"We're at least going to have enough resources on scene to start not only doing the job, but also keep our folks safe. You know, having an extra set of hands there, having another truck there, having extra crews there," said Ward.

Doyle said the agreement could make the difference between life and death in some cases.

"Time is very critical. You need to get to somebody who is having a heart attack in four minutes to save their lives. Things like that," said Doyle.

The new agreement includes the West Lafayette, Purdue University, Lafayette, Wabash Township and Tippecanoe Township Fire Departments.

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