LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Their trucks and equipment may look the same – they’re all firefighters and emergency service personnel but they’re not all the same when it comes to the way they respond. This can cause some confusion.
That confusion was seen following the huge fire in St. Matthews in June. The fire destroyed a commercial building and created questions about who responds to what areas.
St. Matthews Fire, which is less than one mile from the scene, says they couldn’t respond because the fire was in the Louisville Fire Protection District, even though some Louisville Fire crews had to come from much further away.
Chief Adam Jones, the president of the Jefferson County Fire Chiefs Association, said the problems are more common than you think.
“It's really these smaller runs that we deal with every single day that don't hit the media's attention, but really those are the ones that really come down to more life or death because they are medical responses," he said.
But it's not as easy as telling everyone to just work together.
Jeff Taylor, the vice president of Louisville Professional Firefighters Local 345 representing Louisville Fire and Rescue, said there are often differences in training and terminology between the different departments.
"There's a recognition within that chamber that needs to happen. So, it may take us a year. It may take us five," he said. "When you bring in outside resources, it complicates things. It confuses things and it puts firefighters, both us and the suburban brothers at risk, and that's our concern."
The Metro Council Public Safety Committee is calling a special meeting, inviting Jones, Taylor and other fire and EMS leaders to discuss the working relationship between Louisville Fire and Rescue and the suburban fire departments and how to make it better.
"Really it's about what are those obstacles? Can we identify them? And are there ways to overcome those obstacles if that's what's best for the citizens moving forward?", Jones said.
That Metro Council meeting will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday.