Tallmadge -- In the event of an emergency that requires more service equipment and manpower than the city has, Tallmadge will be better able to find help now that it has joined a group of other Summit and Portage county communities.

City Council passed legislation last month that allows Tallmadge to join Kent, Streetsboro, Stow, Twinsburg, Hudson, Aurora and Ravenna in a mutual assistance and aid agreement for their public service departments. Tallmadge is officially part of the group as of this month, according to Public Service Director Bryan Esler.

"If we would have a natural disaster in our city, we have adjoining cities that are willing to send us manpower and equipment to help us make repairs and do a clean up as quickly as possible," he said. "We wouldn't have to bring in contractors, and the men that [the cities] are sending do the same type of work we do so it's an easy effort to coordinate."

It's free of charge for cities to join and stay a part of the group, he said.

Participating cities list individual pieces of service equipment they're willing to share, such as bulldozers, front end loaders, backhoes, pickup trucks, wood chippers, tub grinders and excavators, on a website accessible to each city. When in need, they can view the list, call the city that owns the equipment to request both the equipment and the personnel trained on it, if necessary, and pay the appropriate city its use and incurred labor.

The fees charged are based on the Federal Emergency Management Agency rates for equipment and labor, he said.

If cities have specialized equipment in the pool, then the workers who are trained on that equipment would be loaned with it for safety reasons.

Dozens of pieces of equipment are listed, he said.

Esler said this is a more formal, organized way of sharing equipment and manpower, similar to the mutual aid agreements the Tallmadge Police and Fire departments have with other communities. He said the partnership allows the cities to more quickly and efficiently find what they need in an emergency.

Tornadoes, severe flooding and other natural disasters would be examples of situations when this kind of sharing could take place, he said.

Email: hschoenstein@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9428