VB firefighters, Navy form joint fire station to address North End ‘red zone’


VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The North End is what Virginia Beach Fire and Rescue considers the red zone, an area that doubles the response time for emergency calls.

“One minute, if you’re in that ocean and you’re going under, that matters,” said Captain Dave Hutcheson with VB Fire & Rescue. “So response time is how we judge ourselves, from the time the call comes in, the bells goes off, to on scene is our response time.”

In order to cut that response time in half, the city had few options, considering land at the North End is at a premium. 

With public safety in mind, the city came up with a historic plan to form a partnership with the Navy. 

“That person does not care who comes, they want somebody to be there, and the sooner they can be there the better chance of saving their lives or protecting their property,” said Captain Joey Frantzen with J.E.B. Little Creek-Fort Story. 

With an addition of 15 new firefighters, the joint use fire station will cut response times in half. During the summer, from 12 minutes to 6, while improving safety at the base. 

“Now it is not the Navy’s four guys by themselves for X number of minutes, or vice versa,” said District Fire Chief Ken Snyder. “It’s not my four guys on a big call on base waiting for outside help to come.”

Saving lives by responding to emergencies faster. 

“There is nothing that says there is only going to be one person, their life to be saved on the base or that there is going to be one fire at that time, and often times minutes mean the difference between life and death,” Frantzen said.

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