Mayor Soglin Authorizes Study of Collaboration Between Local Fire Departments

Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 4:05pm

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is introducing a resolution authorizing the Madison Fire Department to examine the costs and benefits of border dropping.  According to Mayor Soglin, “In 2013 we reached an agreement to provide fire protection to the Village of Shorewood, and we are now providing a higher quality service with equivalent or better response times.  We are currently finalizing an agreement to do the same for the Town of Blooming Grove.  This is the next logical step.” 
The concept of border drops is that Fire Departments could be dispatched across municipal lines.  City of Madison fire crews could be sent to neighboring jurisdictions, and neighboring jurisdictions could be sent to respond to City of Madison incidents.  By state law, the local municipality must authorize these agreements.
Fire Chief Steve Davis wrote a memo to the Mayor requesting authority to pursue a study of border dropping. Currently, the City of Madison has border dropping agreements with some neighboring communities for Advanced Life Support (ALS).  The core of those agreements, however, is like-for-like service; the city’s partners follow the same protocols, training plans, and medical direction. The changes the City will study will not affect 911-Center operations including its staffing levels or turnover rates but will have the potential to provide quality service to our community. “Madison taxpayers have made a substantial investment in their fire department, and they must be assured that they will be receiving an equivalent service,” Soglin explained.
Chief Davis’ memo expresses confidence in the Dane County Fire Chief’s ability to negotiate these agreements, and noted some of the criteria that would need to be met:

  • Minimum staffing level of 4 fully trained firefighters per engine/ladder/squad fire apparatus responding.
  • This staffing will need to be in-station ready (staffed in house) to respond 24/7/365 days.
  • Minimum training requirements of State of Wisconsin Certified Firefighter levels 1 & 2.
  • All personnel responding will need proof of annual NFPA medical exams.
  • All personnel will need ongoing annual training plans.
  • All personnel responding will need annual company and personal fitness/job performance standards.
  • Develop response time parameters for identifying the closest unit.
  • Utilize the Automated Vehicle Locator (AVL) for the computer-aided dispatch system to locate the closest vehicle.


“Public safety is the most basic job of government,” said the Mayor. “Border drops offer an opportunity for even better protection, but we must ensure that we are not short changing our citizens.”


  • Nick Zavos608-266-4611
Health & Safety