KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- It’s just a quick drive across the bridge to get from Dunbar to South Charleston and back.
Now, the city’s fire department’s task of saving lives and property could be done even quicker as they are expected to reach an automatic aid agreement.
"Where anytime we have a reported structure fire in South Charleston, Dunbar will be dispatched automatically with us, and we will be dispatched automatically with them if there's a structure fire in the city limits of Dunbar," South Charleston Fire Chief John Taylor said.
The departments have had a mutual aid agreement in place for years, but help would only come after a request was made. Under the new automatic aid, Taylor said response times could decrease by five to 10 minutes.
"It's going to get more manpower on scene faster, more equipment on scene faster," he said.
Both South Charleston and Dunbar are expected to make about another 30 calls per year under the new agreement.
"It may cost a few more dollars but it means better fire protection -- money well invested," Yeager said.
The costs to each of the fire departments are expected to be absorbed by each other.
"And its all going to be a trade, you know, we'll also get their fuel and men -- so it will all work itself out, I believe," Dunbar Fire Chief Butch Ellis said.
Both departments will not automatically be dispatched to minor incidents like car accidents.