There is a long standing tradition of mutual support among most fire departments in the United States. In Washington County we have two ways this support can be requested. Mutual Aid is a request that is not automatic and needs to be requested by the asking department.
Automatic Aid is just that, automatic. An agreement between the departments is written with requested aid for most types of incidents. When an incident occurs, both (or all departments involved) are alerted without a manual request needed. This speeds the response and gathers more resources quicker. This is very important on large incidents or when manpower is limited such as on weekdays.
Currently Wedington has either Mutual Aid or Automatic Aid agreements with all surrounding fire departments. This accounts for a few extra calls for service a month but greatly increases the safety of all.