Suffolk Fire and Rescue teams up with neighboring cities for seamless incident response

Published 1:28 pm Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Suffolk Fire and Rescue announced it has entered a Memorandum of Understanding(MOU) with the Southside Hampton Roads Fire Departments that will allow for the seamless response of fire apparatus and ambulances amongst the five Hampton Roads Fire & Rescue Departments. 

According to a media release front the city, each city in South Hampton Roads is currently adopting the “Hampton Roads Computer Aided Dispatch Interoperability Project (HRCIP) MOU.  This MOU provides full integration of the South Hampton Roads Public Safety Answering Points (PASP), or 911 dispatch centers Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) so that dispatchers in the receiving PSAP can immediately dispatch fire and medical resources and equipment (fire engines, ladder companies, rescue companies, and advanced life support ambulances) between the cities of Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk, and Virginia Beach.  

Fire Departments in South Hampton Roads began “automatic aid” responses of fire apparatus across city lines in May 2015. The success of the automatic aid program is seen daily, as fire apparatus and advanced life support ambulances “cross” city lines to provide the citizens of South Hampton Roads with the closest and appropriate fire and emergency medical resources, despite which city the emergency incident occurs.  Since 2015, improved technology has allowed the time it takes for dispatchers to process and dispatch fire and emergency medical apparatus across city lines, and this MOU will enable the area fire departments to better meet the goal of “real-time dispatching” of neighboring city’s resources.  


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Since the inception of the automatic aid program, South Hampton Roads Fire Chiefs desired to improve processing times in the PASP so that all area fire or emergency medical resources can be seen in each dispatch center and thus immediately dispatched to the other city. This MOU allows the integration of the CADs of the five South Hampton Roads Fire Departments so that the PSAP receiving the 911 call for service for a fire or medical emergency can immediately dispatch, through real-time dispatching, the closest appropriate fire department resource to the emergency. HRCIP now provides a “CAD to CAD connection.” This connection allows for the five South Hampton Roads Fire Department’s resources to be seen in real-time by all the dispatch centers so that the resources can be immediately requested for structural fires, mass causalities, active shooters, technical rescues, hazardous material releases, and any other emergency incident that occurs near city boundaries.   The HRCIP will also provide redundancy and real-time information sharing between the five South Hampton Roads dispatch centers. 

Alongside Suffolk Fire Chief Michael Barakey, Chesapeake Fire Chief Ed Elliott, Portsmouth Fire Chief Nestor Mangubat, Norfolk Fire Chief John DiBacco, and Virginia Beach Fire Chief Kenneth Pravetz are excited to celebrate the success of the implementation of this project. 

Barakey says, “The success of the South Hampton Roads automatic aid program and this MOU will allow the program to better serve the citizens of South Hampton Roads more efficiently.  Regionalism is about providing the closest and most appropriate fire department resource, despite what city the emergency occurs.  This is a celebration of the seamless training and policy development that all South Hampton Roads Fire Departments engage in to ensure all of our citizens receive the closest resources in their time of need.”