Charleston County fire departments are working together to answer fire calls more safely and more efficiently, Charleston Fire Chief Thomas Carr said Thursday.

Carr said training and responding with neighboring departments has enabled his department to take advantage of resources that were underused. The city now responds jointly with St. Andrews, Johns Island, James Island, Mount Pleasant and North Charleston to fires in their areas.

"We're all responding as one," he said.

The arrangement enables the department to consistently "front-load" its response. For instance, the departments will respond to commercial fires with five engines and two ladder trucks. That way, firefighters don't arrive at a scene and realize they left something at the station, he said.

"The beauty of it is we're using the resources that are already there," he said.

Joining with the county's dispatch system over the next few months will only improve the efficiency, consistency and cooperation, he said.

Carr pointed out that responding to fires with more trucks will no doubt attract the attention of residents. The department unveiled a new Web site that will allow residents and the media to retrieve "real-time" information about confirmed fires in their area. Information will include road closings, injuries and other information related to the fires.