SUFFOLK, Va. — Two local fire departments are teaming up to help keep you safe.
Suffolk Fire & Rescue and the Chesapeake Fire Department launched the Automatic Aid program to enhance response times to emergency calls.
The agreement will allow resources to be automatically dispatched without the delay caused when a department has to request additional resources. City leaders said predefined locations along the Suffolk/Chesapeake border will get a response from both city fire departments which will place critical resources on the scene of an emergency quicker.
“People are getting the best services ever and they should not think, 'Well my tax base is going here' or 'I should only get that truck.' When they need help, they are getting the right resources,” explained Suffolk Fire Chief, Michael Barakey.
Barakey said over the past year, both departments constantly trained together. They participated in live-fire training at the Virginia Beach Fire Training Center.
Officials said in a press release, “The program is building on the successes of an existing automatic aid agreement between the Fire Departments of Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. Suffolk and Chesapeake have shared resources for years to cover bordering responses from Route 58 near the Hampton Roads Airport, to Churchland and Northern Suffolk areas.”
Chesapeake Fire Chief Ed Elliott said, “It will really give the citizens the quickest response with the most number of people in the shortest amount of time.“
People who live in Suffolk say the more help, the better.
“With the population growth, there is a need for more support with the fire department,” explained Carley Roberts.
Roberts said the partnership between the two departments is a great move.
"If you have an emergency at your house and you need someone to be there it doesn’t matter if it’s from this city or that city. They just want to be able to help."
Officials said the program started a few weeks ago and so far, it’s going well.