The Columbia Fire Department and Boone County Fire Protection District have worked together for decades to respond to calls along the corridors of Interstate 70 and U.S. 63. Now, they want to formalize the agreement.

A verbal agreement regarding automatic aid has both city and county firefighters responding to all calls in the designated areas. This way, calls will be answered as quickly as possible, no matter who arrives first, Brad Fraizer, Columbia Fire Department assistant chief, said.

“It’s very important in our line of work to get to a scene as soon as possible,” Fraizer said. “We don’t want to take a chance, so we send both.”

The agreement allows better access to accidents on the highways, said Gale Blomenkamp, Boone County Fire Protection District assistant chief. If there’s traffic backed up in one direction, one fire team may be able to reach the accident from a different direction than the other, he said.

The agreement came up while the Columbia Fire Department was going through its accreditation process earlier this year, and the city and county decided they should put the agreement in writing.

“It’s good practice to have things written down,” Fraizer said.

The written agreement would be effective until Dec. 31, 2023, or until the city and the county agree, in writing, to end it.

The Columbia City Council is scheduled to vote on the formalized agreement during its regular meeting Monday.

“It’s worked for many years, it works now, and it will continue to work for years,” Blomenkamp said, “because it’s the right thing to do.”

Supervising editors are Scott Swafford and Claire Colby.

  • Public Life reporter, fall 2019. I am studying investigative journalism. Reach me at srrhgp@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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