For many years, the fire protection systems of Eugene and Springfield have cooperated under an automatic aid agreement. This made sense operationally considering the proximity of the response areas. In 2007, the relationship was formalized under what became the 3-Battalion System.
A battalion is a group of suppression companies (in Eugene Springfield Fire’s case, five or six companies). Eugene has the equivalent of two battalions while Springfield has one. The combined cities, seen as a single response area, are served by three battalions.
The 3-Battalion System disregards the geopolitical boundary between the jurisdictions, instead employing dispatch protocols ensuring that the nearest appropriate response resources are sent to the location of an emergency, no matter whether they are Eugene units, Springfield units or a combination.
By working together on a routine basis, Eugene and Springfield crews have developed familiarity with each other’s personnel, equipment and procedures. In fact, a common set of Standard Operating Procedures, called Metro SOPs, have been written, which helps ensure metro-wide procedural consistency.
Implemented at practically no cost other than the renumbering of some stations and equipment, the 3-Battalion System has paid dividends not only in direct emergency response, but also in system backup, as units from either jurisdiction can be moved so as to provide safe coverage metro-wide in the event that many units are committed to a major emergency at a single location.