OFM - 04-09-12

Fire Protection Agreements

Public Fire Safety Guidelines

Subject Coding

PFSG 04-09-12


Emergency Response


January 1998


Fire Protection Agreements


Under Review


To identify considerations when providing fire protection services through municipal agreements.


A fire protection agreement is a contract between the participating municipalities involved, clearly defining the responsibilities, terms, conditions, and all other aspects of the fire services purchased, provided and/or required.


Municipalities may wish to enter into a fire protection agreement for one or more of the following reasons:

  • a municipality has no fire department
  • a municipality has a fire department, but the area requiring protection is too far removed from its fire station(s) to provide effective protection
  • a fire department may require assistance in the event of a major emergency
  • specialized equipment may not be available through the Mutual Aid Plan
  • two or more municipalities may wish to jointly operate and manage a fire department
  • natural or man made barriers, either permanent or temporary, may block or impede the movement of apparatus from the home fire department
  • the provision of communications/dispatch services
  • the provision of automatic aid
  • the provision of mutual aid
  • the provision of services for hazardous material incidents
  • the provision of water/ice rescue services
  • the provision of medical assistance services
  • the provision of fire prevention and public education


  • Municipal Act
  • Fire Protection and Prevention Act

Type of Agreement:

  • In order to determine the type of agreement necessary, it is essential that the specific needs of the municipality be identified and established.
  • The municipality purchasing fire protection must determine precisely what type and to what extent protection is required.
  • The municipality providing such services must carefully assess these needs to see whether or not it is in a position to provide them, while not jeopardizing the provision of fire protection services to its own municipality.
  • It is the sole responsibility of council to decide the type and extent of fire protection services that can be provided, e.g.
  • complete fire protection services
  • fire suppression services only
  • first call only
  • back-up fire suppression services

Complete Fire Protection Services:

Examples of available services include:

  • fire suppression
  • fire prevention and public education services
  • fire cause determination and investigations
  • enforcement of regulations such as the Ontario Fire Code
  • assisting the chief building official reviewing building plans
  • hazardous material incidents
  • search and rescue
  • water/ice rescue
  • extrication
  • medical assistance responses
  • administrative functions and services
  • communications and dispatch services
  • training and education services
  • apparatus and equipment maintenance and repair services

Areas of Consideration:

The following are areas of consideration for inclusion in agreements:

  • parties involved
  • intent of agreement
  • services to be purchased/provided
  • define area(s) to be protected including map of the area(s) served, (if streets or roads are used as boundaries, are properties on and accessible from both sides of the street or road included?)
  • apparatus and equipment to respond, personnel to respond - minimum and/or maximum number including any variations for different occurrences (is an officer(s) to be included?)
  • arrangement for extra assistance if needed including appropriate agreements for such assistance
  • when more than one fire department is involved, which fire chief has jurisdiction and is in command
  • the maximum response distance for the fire department
  • costing arrangements, including;
  • annual cost only
  • stand-by fee
  • charge for each apparatus
  • charge for personnel
  • cost based on equalized assessment
  • administrative fees
  • fee for fire prevention inspections and the time and work involved subsequent to the actual physical inspections
  • payment schedule including special arrangements relative to responses on provincial highways, environmental legislation, and Ministry of Natural Resources agreements
  • provisions for failing to supply the services, or any part thereof
  • a map of all readily useable static water sources available
  • are all roads and bridges safely passable for fire apparatus
  • the marking of streets and roads at all intersections
  • the numbering of properties by an acceptable clear and readily identifiable system
  • persons to have authority to request fire prevention services
  • provisions for amending the agreement
  • provisions for terminating the agreement
  • arbitration (dispute resolution) clause(s)

Additional Considerations:

  • advice and input to agreement from municipal solicitor, Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing, fire chief, fire department, Office of the Fire Marshal
  • impact of assistance not being available through mutual aid
  • agreement authorized by-bylaw by each participating municipality
  • residents in the contracted area officially notified of procedures for reporting an emergency, and what services are available
  • municipal emergency plan
  • fire department referenced (which municipality?)
  • fire chief referenced (which municipality?)
  • appropriate by-laws in place
  • fire prevention and public education activities
  • fire chief appointed as an inspector under the Building Code Act (which municipality(ies)?)
  • appointments and authority have been made respecting other fire prevention personnel
  • cost of providing outside fire protection relative to cost of providing fire protection to own ratepayers

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
02-04-01 &
02-04-23 Capabilities of Existing Fire Protection Services
04-04-12 Automatic Aid
04-33-13 Community Emergency Plan Participation
04-01-12 Selecting Fire Suppression Capability
04-02-01 Service Delivery Considerations
04-05-12 Mutual Aid
04-12-13 Core Services
04-64-12 Communications Centre/Resource Centre