Suffolk adds Southampton County to mutual aid agreement

Published 9:00 am Tuesday, March 19, 2024

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By James W. Robinson
Staff Writer

During its Wednesday, March 6 meeting, the Suffolk City Council voted 7 to 0 in favor of an amended Agreement for Mutual Aid Fire and Rescue Services Among Localities in Hampton Roads.

The agreement, last signed on August 1, 2011, amends the previous agreement and allows two or more agencies to designate automatic aid response areas. Likewise, the amendment updates the agreement to include Southampton, Surry, Gloucester Counties and the City of Poquoson. Current Hampton Roads locations in the agreement include the cities of Suffolk, Franklin, Portsmouth, Chesapeake, Hampton, Norfolk, Newport News, Virginia Beach, and Isle of Wight, York, and James City counties. 

Suffolk Fire Chief Michael J. Barakey discussed the details during his presentation to the mayor and council.

 “…We all agree in the Hampton Roads Fire and Rescue community that it’s a benefit of all Hampton Roads. With that, we can share apparatus and the apparatus can be your fire engines, your ladder companies, rescue companies, your medics or your ambulances and also specialty equipment to include your technical rescue, hazmat, marine and our communications,” Barakey said.

Barakey discussed the benefits of the agreement for Suffolk and its regional partners, noting that last year, Suffolk “sent or received” mutual/auto aid 462 times. Common examples included Suffolk Medics 5 and 10 coming into the Portsmouth and Chesapeake areas and, likewise, both Portsmouth and Chesapeake Medics coming to Suffolk.

“We have a very good relationship with Isle of Wight on the mutual aid side in which Engine 9 and Medic 9, but most notably Engine 9 from Chuckatuck is in Isle of Wight quite often,” Barakey said. “Down there in the Holland area, Carrsville provides their tanker and their medic in the city of Suffolk quite often. In return, we provide Station 7 or Holland’s fire apparatus and medics into the Carrsville section of Isle of Wight.”

Following Barakey’s presentation, Council Member Roger Fawcett spoke positively on the ordinance.

“It’s going to come down to it that each one of us is going to need some support mechanism from another agency from the Hampton Roads or 757 area,” Fawcett said. “I think this is a great thing for all of us, in all the Hampton Roads cities, and we’re lucky that we have that capability to share this.”