Heights, AP fire departments enter into mutual aid agreement

By SHERRI KOLADE
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A mutual aid agreement is underway between Dearborn Heights and Allen Park fire departments after Dearborn Heights councilors voted to approve the move during a council meeting Sept. 25.

Allen Park’s city council approved the agreement during an Aug. 14 city council meeting according to a published report.

The mutual aid agreement is part of a memorandum of understanding between the two cities for fire and EMS mutual aid services, which originated when the city of Taylor no longer provided mutual aid Advanced Life Support and Dearborn Heights and Allen Park needed to find another mutual aid service, Allen Park Fire Chief Douglas LaFond said.

“It started about a year ago when I ran into (Dearborn Heights Deputy Fire Chief Russ McNamee) at a fire in Taylor,” LaFond said. “We were discussing that it is kind of silly that (the two cities) never had a mutual aid agreement because we share a border on Pelham.”

Dearborn Heights and Allen Park share territory along Van Born Road from the Southfield Freeway to Pelham Road, along with the freeway from Van Born to south of Outer Drive.

Dearborn Heights has two fire stations — 199 N. Beech Daly Road and 4500 S. Telegraph Road — and Allen Park’s fire station is at 6730 Roosevelt Road.

The agreement cost nothing for the cities and employee benefits stay the same.

LaFond said the agreement is a good resource for both cities.

“It is great to know we have another partner out there and we can work together and make it safer for our citizens and employees,” LaFond said.

Councilman Joseph Kosinski asked Fire Chief Andrew Gurka during the meeting if Allen Park’s fire department is a reliable source for Dearborn Heights. City representatives recently went to Lansing to appeal Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to appoint an emergency financial manager to the city.

“It occurs to me that Allen Park is in trouble financially,” Kosinski said.

Gurka said the mutual aid agreement the city has with Allen Park is based on its current financial status.

“If that changes then it will be reviewed to see if they can still comply with the agreement,” Gurka said.

City Attorney Gary Miotke said he added a termination provision in the memorandum in case any unforeseen event happens.

“It is something I insisted basically (so) we can terminate this within 30 days if we feel there is any sort of a problem,” Miotke said. “Those provisions were added specifically because I said I don’t want us to have an open-ended agreement with them. We need to have some sort of termination provision in here. So that should deal with those issues.”

Councilwoman Janet Badalow said 30-day termination provisions in contracts help the city.

“This really does help us immensely,” Badalow said. “We have been able to get out of some contracts that weren’t in our best interest.”

Dearborn Heights belongs to the Western Wayne Mutual Aid group, which includes cities such as Dearborn, Romulus and Redford; Allen Park is a member of the Downriver Mutual Aid group that serves 19 communities.

(Sherri Kolade can be reached at skolade@bewickpublications.com. Andrea Poteet contributed to this story.)