Automatic aid is assistance dispatched automatically by contractual agreement between two communities or fire districts to all first alarm structural fires. That differs from mutual aid or assistance arranged case by case. ISO will recognize an automatic-aid plan under the following conditions:
- The assistance must be prearranged for first-alarm response according to a definite plan. It is preferable to have a written agreement, but ISO may recognize demonstrated performance.
- The aid must be dispatched to reported structure fires on the initial alarm.
- The aid must be provided 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
- The assistance may be fire department companies — including apparatus and firefighters — or only firefighters.
- For fireground communications, the communities should have common dispatch and tactical radio frequency capability and standard operating procedures.