is the last of the five Pointes to join among the cities.
The Park City Council voted unanimously Monday to enter into what's known as an interlocal agreement. It allows for the establishment of a five-Pointe fire authority, which will be made up a representative from each Pointe. They will work collectively to determine where they could combine efforts and save taxes and time.
The four other Pointes have already signed the agreement. The City was the first to approve it, then the Woods and the Shores. The Farms approved it earlier this month. The Park's approval opens the way for the committee to start meeting any time.
Park Public Safety Director David Hiller said Monday the agreement will not reflect any immediate changes and any changes that result are weeks or months away. Substantial changes, such as where emergency responders may be sent, would be years down the road--if approved.
More immediatly, the authority will start looking at ways to save money by purchasing equipment as one unit rather than five. They will begin training together. Equipment and training are two very costly parts of running fire departments, especially five of them.
Councilman Daniel Clark said his "chief concern" was that the level of training provided by the Park be maintained and also be expected of other cities as their employees will be working side by side with Park employees.
And Councilman Gregory Theokas said he wanted to be sure that cities such as the Park receive credit for sharing newer equipment with cities that offer older models of fire engines.
Hiller said he would not agree to a lower quality training and that the committee when assigning costs for shared projects to each community would take into account communities that provide more pieces of equipment or more valuable equipment.
Councilman Robert Denner said he saw the agreement as "a good step in the right direction of more community sharing of services."
In addition to the shared purchasing and training, which officials thorughout the Pointes have said is a logical decision that should have come years ago since the departments already work together so frequently, the agreement also outlines the establishment of automatic aid.
Automatic aid would allow immediate response by fire crews for fires at major locations--these are either large buildings or those with a lot of occupants, such as a hospital or school.
Currently, each department responds to all fire calls first and after assessing the level of the fire, those on scene may call for firefighters from the other departments. Automatic aid eliminates the assessement phase by getting more responders there immediately for locations that have are of a higher risk of major injury or damage.
Automatic aid will not be immediately implemented as the authority must be established first and then address the fine details of how such response would work.
Sara Eaton Martin contributed to this story.