Photo by Hayden Merrill.
KINGMAN – The City of Kingman Fire Department has entered into an agreement with neighboring fire districts, including the Lake Havasu City Fire Department, the Golden Valley Fire District, the Hualapai Nation Emergency Service, that will aid in their efforts of responding appropriately to various emergencies. The Mohave County Fire Officers’ Association Mutual Aid Agreement will allow for better emergency preparation across Mohave County.
“If somebody needs help, I will go help them,” said Kingman Fire Department Chief Jake Rhoades regarding what the agreement essentially means.
Should one of the districts lacks the personnel or equipment necessary to handle a certain fire, hazmat, or other emergency, the agreeing districts can be called to lend any support needed. Now while this may seem simple enough to many, the mutual aid agreement has many steps to ensure the safety and preparedness of all the included districts.
“A lot of it comes down to liability and who’s responsible,” Rhoades said.
The agreement puts into place the logistics of who is responsible for any possible injuries or equipment destruction that may occur when one district is requested to help another with an emergency, whether it be the original district handling the emergency or the district who comes in to help. The agreement says that responsibility is to be held by each individual district, regardless of where the emergency takes place.
The idea of liability and responsibility held in emergencies of this sort has become a big deal across the entire state since the incident of the Yarnell Hill Fire where 19 firefighters tragically lost their lives while battling an intense wildfire.
The wildfire reached national attention and was determined by the National Fire Protection Association to be the greatest loss of firefighter lives in a wildfire since 1933.
Discussions of liability sparked with the destruction and so many different fire departments involved with the incident.
This eventually led to the creation of the Mohave County Mutual Aid Agreement.
The agreement closely resembles the Arizona Mutual Aid Compact that is enforced throughout the state, but the Mohave County agreement allows for more specific regulations.
Rhoades said that the agreement has allowed fire districts around the county to increase their capabilities and response efforts.
“The agreement enhances our ability not just for Kingman, but for the county,” he said.
It is clear that this agreement will not only aid the county’s fire departments, but also the entire community.