GROVELAND— The Lake County Board of County Commissioners, Lake County Public Safety Department, city of Groveland officials and members of the Groveland Fire Department ceremoniously signed an automatic aid agreement to combine emergency resources on Feb. 24 at Groveland’s Fire Station 94 on Cherry Valley Trail. The goal of the agreement is to speed up emergency response times for residents living in unincorporated Lake County and within the city.
“Groveland being the first city to sign on sends a signal to other municipalities in this county,” said Lake County Chairman Jimmy Conner. “It shows a lot of leadership to be first.”
The agreement states that the closest emergency unit, whether Lake County Fire or Groveland Fire, will respond to emergency incidents within the Inter-local Service Boundary Agreement, or ISBA area. The county and city will share a centralized dispatch and the costs of responding to emergencies in the Groveland area. The county has also recently installed Automatic Vehicle Location or AVL systems, which are similar to GPS monitoring systems that dispatch the closest unit to any emergency, regardless if it occurs in the county or city.
“This particular arrangement allows the city of Groveland and Lake County to work in cooperation by sharing taxpayer resources in regard to fire and medical services,” said Groveland Mayor Tim Loucks.
The agreement with Groveland goes into effect March 1.
Lake County is also working with other municipalities in the hopes of striking similar agreements in the near future.
Four years ago, Lake County Commissioner Welton Cadwell spearheaded a meeting between the county and its municipalities to discuss the concept of automatic aid agreements for fire service. Since then, the Lake County Board of County Commissioners, along with county and municipal fire officials, have continued to work towards implementing the inter-local agreements.