Supe concerned with mutual aid agreement
by Paisley Boston
Jan 25, 2014 | 1149 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Bolivar County Supervisor Preston Billings is concerned about the mutual aid agreement between Bolivar County and its municipalities.

"From the city of Shelby, which is the City of Justice, there have been a great deal of bizarre situations occurring," said Billings.

"The city is asking that the county organizes a way to respond to fires and other emergencies because Shelby is barely half of a block outside of city limits. Instead of county fire trucks and emergency personnel coming all the way from the county, I think that it would be better for the city to respond," he added.

Billings said that he has been receiving several phone calls from constituents in Shelby about this matter and he believes that the city and county need to devise a plan.

"I mean they are just right outside of the city limits. I am of the understanding that first responders can not respond to emergencies outside of the city limits," Billings continued.

"We are dealing with lives here. I don’t really know what the rule is and I have told several constituents that I would try to gain some clarity on the situation," he added.

According to Emergency Management Director Bill Quinton, Bolivar County and Shelby have a mutual aid agreement.

"I am certain that there is a mutual aid agreement – they back us up and we back them up, said Quinton.

"Bolivar County has a very strong mutual aid agreement. I know of no municipality and or county that would not help each other in the time of an emergency. The fire department does a mutual aid agreement with each other and this is so we can legally give aid to each other and not have any legal problems," he added.

According to Quinton, a mutual aid agreement is an agreement between both a county and a municipality, two counties, or two municipalities whereby they agree to assist each other with manpower and equipment in times of need and emergency.

"The city of Cleveland helps the county a tremendous amount and we help them.

As a matter of fact, yesterday the county had two fires at one time. Battalion one was out at one fire and we had a semi truck to catch on fire just outside of the city and county limits. The county responded," continued Quinton.

"In some instances reimbursement is required and in some instances reimbursement is not required," he added.

Billings said that he believes that Emergency Medical Services do not respond promptly to emergencies in smaller municipalities.

"They rely heavily on GPS and one wrong turn will cause them to take longer trying to get to a person who is in need of emergency services. We are trying to save lives," said Billings.

"A couple of incidents have occurred when the ambulance was on their way to an emergency and they took a right when it should have been a left – the longer it takes for them to get there, chances are a life could be lost," he added.

"We have dispatchers that work 24 hours a day, they could easily call and ask them for assistance by having someone to escort them to any location," continued Billings.