<b>YONGSAN GARRISON, Republic of Korea</b> - U.S. Army Garrison-Yongsan and Seoul Metropolitan Fire and Disaster Department senior officials reaffirmed their commitment July 14 to share firefighting resources under a mutual aid agreement.

USAG-Yongsan Commander Col. Dave Hall and Seoul Fire and Disaster Commissioner Jung Jung-ki signed the agreement that signifies "a great partnership," Hall said.

Under the agreement, both fire departments will support each other in the event of a major fire or emergency requiring fire services.

"The ROK and U.S. are good friends, ever since the Korean War; it's a blood-pledge relationship," Jung said. "Through this agreement, we hope to continue to strengthen that relationship."

USAG-Yongsan Fire Chief Alex Temporado said this agreement is "very important to us" because Yongsan is located so close to the center of Seoul.

"Because they have more than 5,000 firefighters, they can provide us tremendous amounts of equipment, manpower, facilities and vehicles to help us in any situation," Temporado said. "For us, we have some specialized equipment to share with them, such as thermal imagers and hazardous material detection capability. We help each other."

Additionally, both departments conduct quarterly joint training exercises to continue to be familiar with each other's capabilities. These exercises have included high-rise evacuation, mass casualty drills and hazardous material response.

This relationship was realized in March 2006 when four buildings in the Yongsan Directorate of Public Works complex caught fire, and Yongsan called on Seoul for help.

"It only took a phone call," Temporado said. "Their initial response was close to 200 firefighters dispatched to us immediately. Our relationship has really grown."

The signing of this agreement also signifies the strength of the U.S. Forces Korea Good Neighbor Program at Yongsan.

"Being good neighbors goes beyond the personal community events we have with school children and other groups," said An Chang-sin, USAG-Yongsan Community Relations Officer. "This agreement signifies that we truly are good neighbors -- we are here for them and they are here for us. It's a strong partnership."

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16