Mich. fire dept.: Mutual aid not so mutual
Muskegon Township Fire Chief David Glotzbach said they are willing to help neighboring fire departments, but the favor is not being returned
By FireRescue1 Staff
MUSKEGON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A fire department is claiming that their mutual aid agreement with other departments is not beneficial for them.
FOX17 reported that Muskegon Township Fire Chief David Glotzbach and Township Supervisor David Kieft said they are not receiving the same help they give neighboring fire departments.
“As firefighters, we don’t like to tell people no, we want to respond and we want to be there,” Chief Glotzbach said. “There comes a limit where we just can’t be everywhere for everyone, and that’s part of this dilemma that we’re all facing.”
“What’s the solution to the problem?” Kieft said. “You don’t mind helping your neighbor on a temporary basis, but when it continues to go on, obviously it’s a problem.”
Kieft wrote a letter to Muskegon City Manager Frank Peterson, saying he is “disheartened” after Peterson called for mutual aid from Muskegon Township, but said the city did not need any more firefighters and cut $900,000 from the department’s budget.
“These additional calls are placing a burden on our fire department as our resources are only adequate to provide occasional, temporary assistance to other jurisdictions,” the letter said. “In addition, many of these calls are of the ordinary, routine variety that a local fire department should be able to cover with their own resources.”
“One of the biggest heartburns is the fact that [Muskegon] made this decision to go whatever direction they’re going and reduce their staffing, and automatically assumed the neighbors would just help out,” Chief Glotzbach said. “And all of us are about helping our neighbors but a little heads up and understanding that we have limited resources is part of that.”
Muskegon Township has six firefighters when fully staffed who respond to around 2,200 calls a year, and the city of Muskegon has nine firefighters who respond to around 4,900 calls a year.
The city offered to reimburse the township for their help, but Kieft said they would rather come up with a long-term solution.