On Tuesday, June 28, The City of Merritt held its regular council meeting wherein they entered into a mutual aid agreement with the District of Logan Lake. This agreement allows both parties to assist in each other’s emergency situations, should the need arise.

“It had lapsed but we renewed it with new terms, mostly on remuneration for each municipality,” said Fire Chief David Tomkinson, explaining the history of mutual aid between Merritt and Logan Lake.

“I think people need to understand the difference between a fire protection agreement where we’re providing a service, whereas this mutual aid agreement is really for the benefit of both communities.”

The agreement is a five year contract that begins as soon as it is adopted. Previously, both parties entered in a same agreement back on January 12, 2016.

“This allows us to call upon another community to assist us and vice versa so it’s a win-win situation for both communities, especially because we both are smaller in size and population,” Tomkinson explained.

“We both have fire departments that respond out of a single station, on a single alarm basis, so we are elated that this is in place.”
Tomkinson also clarified that this agreement will not change the Fire and Rescue Department’s main priority which is the City of Merritt.

“Typically, we were only sending in one apparatus with a limited amount of firefighters, leaving Merritt with the majority of our resources for protection,” he explained.

“If we are in their backyard and an incident happens that requires us back in our own jurisdiction, then we can drop what we are doing and return to our own community.”

In addition, Tomkinson also explained that Merritt’s “indemnity” removes any liability from the city from turning down a request of sending resources to Logan Lake. This scenario works both ways and only applies when respective fire departments are currently attending to an emergency.

“It’s been a few years since we’ve requested mutual aid from Logan Lake,” “I think the last time was when the highway’s maintenance yard had a fire in one of their shops.”

Provincial rates are established for the remuneration of the responding party. To read the full report please visit https://www.merritt.ca/agendas-minutes/.