Hartselle, Falkville work on emergency response deals - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Hartselle, Falkville work on emergency response deals

First Response is in the middle of a 30-day agreement with the two cities. (Source: WAFF) First Response is in the middle of a 30-day agreement with the two cities. (Source: WAFF)

More than a week after Cross Roads Ambulance Service shut down in southwest Morgan County, a Decatur-based service has been covering that area. However, Hartselle and Falkville leaders need to figure out a permanent plan.

First Response Ambulance Service agreed to cover the area for 30 days. There are about three weeks left on that agreement, but it will likely take longer for Hartselle and Falkville to contract long-term with a service.

Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton said First Response has agreed to keep covering the area past the original deadline date if it takes longer to get a deal done. The two cities are working together on the agreement, offering a license to First Response for eight months to give them more time.

First Response is hesitant, because since they moved in last Wednesday, they have been losing money on their operation there. But the fire chief said the important thing is that they are there for now.

"I know it's not going to happen within the 30 day period, and my concern is what's going to happen after that," said Shelton. "What I looked at at that point was, I need to look at is as of right now. What if they're not here now? What are we going to do? So he is in agreement that after the 30 days, they will continue to do what they can to help us out as far as providing that service."

As officials in Hartselle and Falkville work to try and solve this issue, they have entered into an agreement that affects fire service, and which they hope may lower homeowners' insurance rates.

The deal is called an "Automatic Aid Agreement." When there is a structure fire in either jurisdiction, Morgan County 911 will dispatch both fire departments to the scene. Shelton said that means more manpower on-site earlier, and this could cut the money people pay for insurance.

Better fire service is important to the Insurance Service Office, and a better ISO rating for Hartselee and Falkville would mean lower rates.

"ISO has made several changes over the last few years," Shelton explained. "Mutual aid was very popular at one time. Now, ISO is looking more so at automatic aid than they are mutual aid. We felt like this will not only help Falkville, it will help us as well."

The Automatic Aid Agreement will begin next month, once Morgan County 911 reviews the logistics.

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