Suffolk Fire, Chesapeake Fire begin automatic aid agreement program to reduce response time


SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Suffolk Fire and Rescue and Chesapeake Fire announced on Wednesday that the departments will launch an automatic aid agreement program.

The aid agreement allows resources to automatically be dispatched which will reduce response times and increase structure fire responses to bordering areas between the two cities. This will get critical resources on the scene of an emergency much faster. The areas that will generate the automatic response will be predefined locations.

“Whichever unit is closest, whatever station is closest, their unit is going to respond to the incident,” said Chesapeake Fire Chief Ed Elliot. “When a person is in distress, when their house is on fire, when they’re in cardiac arrest, they’re not really concerned. They just need help. They really not concerned about what the decal says on the side of the truck.”

Officials say the implementation of this partnership took about a year.

“Over the past year, firefighters from both departments participated in live-fire training at the Virginia Beach Fire Training Center. During these evolutions, departments worked to streamline communication and fire ground tactics in preparation for automatic aid responses,” said officials with the City of Suffolk.

“Fire administrators also identified call types, developed new dispatching practices, and shared policies to ensure firefighters have the tools needed to work as one team.”

The agreement is a result of sharing resources and providing aid on calls in bordering areas over the years, as well as the existing agreement between Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach fire departments.

Both Suffolk Mayor Linda Johnson and Chesapeake Mayor Rick West agreed that these partnerships show others in Hampton Roads that teamwork between cities works.

“That’s what it’s all about,” said Johnson. “And I think the more Hampton Roads learns it’s all one region, working together, the better it will be each and every day.”

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