HD30 - Hampton Roads Automatic Aid Between Emergency Services

Executive Summary:
This report is being provided to the General Assembly pursuant to House Joint Resolution (HJR) 155. HJR 155 directed the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission to "review the emergency responses of localities of the Hampton Roads region, including responses across jurisdictional lines." The conclusion of the report states that no legislative action is required to facilitate automatic or mutual aid among fire, emergency medical services (EMS), 911 dispatch agencies, or law enforcement. Subsequently, law enforcement agencies request that legislation be developed that would eliminate the need for regional mutual aid agreements but offer all legal protections and guarantee the delivery of available services.

The report was developed following a series of interviews with representatives from fire, law enforcement, EMS, and 911 dispatch agencies within the Hampton Roads region that focused on the usage and implementation of automatic and mutual aid operations. The interviews determined that Hampton Roads fire departments actively use both automatic and mutual aid and with the exception of the City of Virginia Beach are also responsible for EMS response. Law enforcement agencies do not use automatic aid except in cases of pursuit across jurisdictional lines; however, resources are shared through mutual aid. 911 dispatch centers do not direct use of mutual or automatic aid; rather, the decision is left to the first responder agencies and the dispatch centers facilitate the process the best way possible. To demonstrate the use of cross-jurisdiction response, the April 2008 tornado in Suffolk is used as an example of aid between jurisdictions.