Missouri Statewide Fire Mutual Aid System
No fire service agency is equipped to deal fully with every potential emergency or disaster. For this reason, many departments have historically had long-standing formal and informal mutual aid agreements to ensure adequate resources are immediately available to assist affected jurisdictions facing incidents that exceed the capacity of local responders. Mutual aid truly means neighbors helping neighbors.
Missouri’s fire service exemplifies this by its commitment to a system that provides resources to any incident or disaster that may exceed the capabilities of local agencies to respond and recover.
Missouri’s statewide fire mutual aid system was first established legislatively in 1990. The first law provided for fire service mutual aid on a statewide basis and was later amended to include other potential disaster response disciplines, including law enforcement, public health, emergency medical services, and public works. These disciplines often look to the time-tested fire service plan when developing their mutual aid processes.
In the event of a major emergency or a statewide disaster, all fire protection agencies in the state become an organizational part of the Missouri Fire Mutual Aid System. Also included in the system are specialized teams and resources, including hazardous materials teams, swift water rescue resources, fire-based medical assets, and other technical rescue capabilities.
The system is organized into nine emergency response regions which correspond to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop areas. Each region has a fire-based regional coordinator who resides within that region and serves without compensation.
The system is based on the tenets of the National Incident Management system and adheres to the principle that every incident remains under the control of the affected jurisdiction.
Whether in response to flood-stricken communities, the devastation of the 2011 Joplin tornado, Region G flash flooding in 2017, the Wooldridge fire in October, or the widespread wildfires of the 2012 drought, Missouri’s mutual aid system has proven to be a dependable and effective program, ensuring emergency response needs are met when lives and property are at stake.
The Statewide Fire Mutual Aid System was developed by the Missouri Association of Fire Chiefs and is administered by the Missouri Division of Fire Safety. Missouri’s Statewide Mutual Aid Coordinator may be reached at (573) 751-1601.
- To activate the Statewide Fire Mutual Aid system for a response to your jurisdiction, contact your Regional Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator. A best management practice for Chief Officers would be to have your Regional Coordinator and the State Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator’s phone numbers saved in your cell phone and provided to your dispatch agency. Some considerations to keep in mind if you activate the Statewide Fire Mutual Aid System are:
- What resources are you requesting?
- What is the current situation on the ground at your incident? Resources will be coming to assist, but it will take time to get there.
- Once the state system has been requested, allow the Regional Coordinators/State Coordinator to manage the mutual aid resources responding from that point forward (for the specific incident).
- This eliminates the duplication of effort between local and state mutual aid resources being requested and having too many overlapping resources responding.
- Have a staging location identified for responding units to report to.
- Have a Staging Officer identified and provide their contact information to the Regional or Statewide Coordinator
- Provide the Incident Commander’s contact information to the Regional or Statewide Coordinator.
Statewide Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
Eric Hartman – (573) 821-0937
Region A Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
Dan Manley – (816) 969-1304
Region B Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
John Cook – (660) 665-3734
Region C Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
Greg Brown – (636) 262-2400
Region D Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
Rich Stirts – (417) 839-5697
Region E Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
Derick Wheetley – (573) 475-3755
Region F Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
Scott Frandsen – (573) 346-2049
Region G Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
Kurt Wilbanks – (417) 255-3584
Region H Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
Bill Lamar – (816) 387-3269
Region I Fire Mutual Aid Coordinator
Ron Smith – (573) 578-2507