HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A Hancock County Fire Department is celebrating a major milestone. The Bayside Park Volunteer Fire Department has successfully lowered its fire rating from a class ten to a class eight. The lower rating translates into money in the bank for thousands of residents who live in the Bayside Park fire district.
"We've been working on this for quite sometime," said Assistant Chief of the Bayside Park Volunteer Fire Department Zeke Hall.
It was nearly two years in the making, but as of this month, the Bayside Park Volunteer Fire Department has earned a new public fire protection classicification from the State Rating Bureau.
"Bayside is the second volunteer department to receive an 8 rating here in Hancock County," Hall said.
In order to drop from a 10 to an 8 rating, the department had to demonstrate it could provide 500 gallons of water a minute for one hour to the entire fire district. A new pumper truck played a key role in making that happen, but the truck wasn't the only necessary criteria needed.
"Our paper-work had to be continuous. Our training had to be indepth and continuous, as well as, the maintenance on our vehicles and equipment," Hall said.
The new class 8 means residents will see a 20 to 30 percent decrease in their homeowners insurance policies. Good news for residents like Barbara LaFontaine whose insurance jumped more than 50-percent after Katrina.
Barbara LaFontaine said, "To me it would be great. It would mean that we have a little bit more money to spend some place else, being on social security not having to worry about insurance."
Bayside Business Owner Jonathan Davis said, "For me, owning a business it's going to be substantial cause. My building is 5,480 square feet and dropping fire insurance 20 percent would be a lot."
"Myself and Chief Butcher are very proud of our guys," Hall said. "We have 22 guys that work real hard."
Other new equipment the Department has gotten since Katrina also played a major role in the lowering of the rating.
The department is getting a new ladder truck next week that will help them battle fires in the raised homes.