By Kent Gray

Triplicate staff writer

A quicker way for crews to respond to fires across district boundaries is being discussed between Crescent City officials and the Crescent Fire Protection District.

If the discussions are successful, a new cooperation between the firefighters will mean quicker responses and less damage to structures when fires erupt, according to Crescent City City Manager Dave Wells.

andquot;What it really comes down to is we're talking about how we are - and can - work together, but this is all very preliminary at this stage,andquot; Wells said yesterday.

The discussion of mutual aid and automatic aid between the fire departments began last month as a byproduct of the Roosevelt tract annexation under way by the city.

The Roosevelt tract, named after the water district that serves it, is a highly developed portion of the county that will be removed from the jurisdiction of the Crescent Fire Protection District after the annexation to the city.

andquot;In a way, it began with that,andquot; said Wells. andquot;It started with a letter and then a meeting. We had the meeting and we discussed several different levels of joint cooperation in a free-flowing discussion.andquot;

Wells said the first level being discussed will involve joint training and general meetings between the two departments. This way the firefighters can become acquainted with their counterparts on both a professional and social basis.

andquot;Although they are trained in much the same manner, there may be slight differences in how they work together,andquot; Wells said. andquot;The main thing is they get the equipment they need, they are well-trained and they are comfortable with their jobs and they enjoy it.andquot;

Wells said joint training sessions are currently being arranged. The second level will involve working out mutual aid and automatic aid between the departments.

andquot;This is where one department may have units closer to a fire although it is not in their jurisdiction,andquot; Wells said. andquot;So the first response may come from the other department while the other follows up.andquot;

Wells said the third level of cooperation may involve joint management for the departments.

andquot;It would be a management structure that might eventually become a governing body to deal with both departments, but that's way off in the future,andquot; he said.

Wells was quick to mention that no plans have been made for these second and third levels, but he said the idea is an important one for the area.

andquot;The mutual aid concept is so important in our county because of our isolation,andquot; he said. andquot;Not just for fires, but for the earthquake and tsunami potential. It's important because disasters like these can happen and we need to be able to stand alone.andquot;