PORTSMOUTH, Va. - The Chesapeake Fire Department and Portsmouth Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services now have an active program called Automatic Aid.
The new program means that both fire departments will automatically respond to any call that comes in from a neighborhood along the border of Chesapeake and Portsmouth. Previously, one might call for backup.
“The bottom line for the citizens: When you dial 911, you’re going to get quicker service, better service, quicker staffing on the scene,” said Chief Ed Elliott of the Chesapeake Fire Department.
The partnership was officially announced on Wednesday morning at the High Street Landing Stage along the waterfront.
Portsmouth Mayor Shannon Glover spoke to the crowd, saying, “Kudos to all parties, individuals and administrators who worked to forge this accord. You have set a tone for additional regional cooperation, an example that I hope all localities will pursue.”
Chief Elliott added that now, all Southside cities in Hampton Roads have automatic aid for their border areas. It’s a project that’s been in the works since 2015.
According to a press release, these are the neighborhoods affected:
Cavalier Industrial Park, Camelot, Brentwood, Cradock, Cavalier Manor, Hodges Manor, Bowers Hill, Chesapeake Square area, and High Street West corridors.
“We have a great city. We have great firefighters and EMS providers, and without them along with our dispatchers, we couldn’t serve our citizens the way we do,” said Chief Nestor Mangubat of Portsmouth Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services.
The fire chiefs said that both departments have been training together to streamline communication and tactics.
“The completion of this project is our gift back to you to ensure the quickest and the best emergency service delivery possible,” Chief Elliott said to residents. “When you need us most, we’ll be there for you.”