Thousands in Jackson County to see lower fire insurance rates - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Thousands in Jackson County to see lower fire insurance rates

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) -

By Trang Pham-Bui – bio | email

ST. MARTIN, MS (WLOX) – If firefighters in the Fort Bayou Volunteer Fire Department are trapped in a burning four-story building, they can now escape safely through a window.  They can repel to the ground by using new self-rescue kits that include a belt, hardware and rope.

"He can go pretty fast or he can go as slow as he wants," explained Chief Lyle Crandall.

And if a fireman passes out while battling a blaze, his partner can easily pull him to safety by using a coat with a built-in harness.  The 20 Bunker Gear and 25 Bailout Kits were recently purchased by the Fort Bayou Volunteer Fire Department.

The Fort Bayou and the West Jackson County Volunteer Fire Departments make up the St. Martin Fire Grading District.  The quality of their equipment, training, and personnel played a big role in helping the district achieve a lower fire rating.

"It's very good news and this district is the first one in Jackson County to receive a seven rating," said Ray Watson, Jackson County's Fire District Manager.  "Most volunteer departments get a nine or an eight rating, but this department has improved so they can get a seven rating. And they're one of the few in the state with a seven rating."

"It means a lot," said Chief Crandall.  "These guys, they put in a lot of work, and getting that better rating kind of consolidates and approves what they've been doing."

Fire officials give a lot of credit to the West Jackson County Utility District, for improving the water supply, relaying old lines, and replacing outdated fire hydrants.

Some of the hydrants are new, which means firefighters don't have to truck in water to a fire scene.  All these improvements mean better fire protection and savings for thousands of homeowners.

"Which will mean to the homeowner a one-percent to two-percent savings on their fire insurance bills.  And we all know that everybody can use reduced fire insurance rates," said Watson.

The new gear and equipment were funded by a $35,000 FEMA Assistance to Firefighters Grant.  The new fire rating took effect last month, so you need to check with your insurance company to find out just how much money you will save.

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