The City Council has approved a “boundary drop” agreement with three fire agencies in Stanislaus County.
The 5-0 vote Tuesday night puts Turlock into a partnership with the Modesto and Ceres fire departments and the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District, which serves much of the central and eastern county.
Under the plan, the closest crew will respond to a call, regardless of city or district boundaries. Fire officials say this would improve responses without the need for formal mergers.
Turlock Fire Chief Tim Lohman said each city and the district will maintain control over its personnel and assets, but they will follow common standards in training, communications and other areas.
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The partnership goes beyond the long-standing agreements among fire agencies to back up one another on major calls. But it would fall well short of a merger, such as the one that created Stanislaus Consolidated in the 1990s.
Fire agencies have entered into other agreements in recent years. Stanislaus Consolidated has a contract to manage the Oakdale Fire Department and the Oakdale Rural Fire Protection District. The Modesto Regional Fire Authority – involving Modesto, the county and the Salida Fire Protection District – ended July 1 after a three-year run.
Under the boundary drop agreement, an agency responding from outside could seek compensation only if the incident lasts more than 12 hours.