The Los Angeles City Council has approved a plan for the city of Los Angeles to provide emergency medical and fire dispatch services to the City of Santa Monica.

Under the agreement, approved Tuesday, June 20th, Santa Monica will pay a regional dispatch and communication service fee of $516,000 annually, and Los Angeles will provide the basic dispatch, technical service and general maintenance for operating the dispatch system.

The Los Angeles Information Technology Agency will also provide the Santa Monica Fire Department with labor to install fire station equipment, communications equipment in vehicles and support for maintenance services.

The agreement is part of a regional dispatching effort in the Los Angeles area, which will enable emergency dispatchers to have “direct communication with larger groups of people,” Santa Monica Fire Department captain Scott Ziegert said. “We will be able to handle more emergency calls at a time.”

Santa Monica is believed to be the first city to become part of the Los Angeles City Fire Department regional dispatch system.

By integrating into the LAFD regional dispatch system, Santa Monica Fire Department radios will be upgraded to the latest technology, Ziegert said.

According to a City of Los Angeles report, the two cities took part in the agreement to work together for the mutual benefit of their communities.

The Santa Monica Fire Department (SMFD) wishes to “more effectively” provide emergency medical, fire and other services to residents, while the Los Angeles Fire Department desires Santa Monica Fire Department participation for “regional communications interoperability,” the report states.

“Los Angeles is interested in having a regional dispatch system and we’re looking to take other cities on,” LAFD battalion chief Thomas Brennan said.

Santa Monica dispatchers will continue to field primary 911 calls, but when the call is determined to be a fire department need, it will be immediately transferred to Los Angeles Fire Department dispatchers, Brennan said.

The system will help improve dispatch services because the fire department company closest to the call will “respond to the needs of that citizen,” Brennan said.

The regional dispatch agreement should take effect in January, he said.