OFM - 04-05-12

Mutual Aid

Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Subject Coding

PFSG 04-05-12


Emergency Response


March 2000


Mutual Aid


Under Review


To describe requirements for fire department participation in a county, district or regional mutual aid plan.


  • Mutual aid plans allow a participating fire department to request assistance from a neighbouring fire department authorized to participate in a plan approved by the Fire Marshal.
  • Mutual aid is not immediately available for areas that receive fire protection under an agreement. The municipality purchasing fire protection is responsible for arranging an acceptable response for back-up fire protection services. In those cases where the emergency requirements exceed those available through the purchase agreement and the back up service provider, the mutual aid plan can be activated for the agreement area.


  • A fire department may ask for mutual aid assistance when it is at the scene or has information that immediate assistance is required.
  • Fire departments may immediately request a simultaneous response from a participating fire department where distance and/or conditions dictate.


  • Generally, the requirements for participation in county, district or regional mutual aid plans include the following:
  • participating municipalities or agencies must own, or operate fire departments, adequate to meet their day to day fire protection obligations
  • fire departments must be established by by-law or agreement
  • fire chiefs of participating fire departments must be appointed by by-law or similar acceptable authorization
  • participating municipalities or agencies must pass by-laws or similar authorization permitting fire departments to leave their jurisdiction to participate in the mutual aid plan
  • responding fire departments must meet the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act
  • fire departments have a first obligation to emergencies in their municipality or jurisdiction, a second obligation to mutual aid calls, and then to calls in areas covered by fire protection agreements
  • the fire chief or designate of the municipality or jurisdiction in which the emergency occurs, has responsibility for managing the emergency
  • the fire co-ordinator and the fire chiefs participating in the plan in consultation with the Office of the Fire Marshal shall assess suitability of participating fire departments
  • the mutual aid plan may stipulate that the departments provide or receive assistance through
  • additional or specialized vehicles and/or equipment
  • additional or specialized personnel
  • specialized advice and/or command assistance
  • fire departments must adhere to the accepted response, reporting and other provisions of the mutual aid plan  


Assistance is reciprocal with no fees involved for mutual aid

Related Functions:

Click on the related function below to view that function:

  • automatic aid
  • fire protection agreements

Codes, Standards and Best Practices:

Codes, Standards and Best Practices resources available to assist in establishing local policy on this assessment are listed below. All are available at http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca . Please feel free to copy and distribute this document. We ask that the document not be altered in any way, that the Office of the Fire Marshal be credited and that the documents be used for non-commercial purposes only.
See also PFSG
04-04-12 Automatic Aid
04-09-12 Fire Protection Agreements