GEORGE COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Thanks to improved fire ratings in fire Districts 1 and 4, insurance premiums for thousands of George County residents will soon decrease.
District 4, which includes Benndale, Salem and Broome volunteer fire departments, has improved from a 10 rating to a nine. The improvement was largely due to more than $1 million in investments spent on six new trucks during the past 10 years.
According to George County Fire Coordinator Loraine Howell, District 4 faces unique challenges. That area of the county does not have a force water rule association requiring fire hydrants.
"They strictly have to depend on live streams and water sources," Howell said, "It's a little more rural in a couple of areas over there, so having more volunteers has been a challenge for them."
The fire rating system is based off a number of criteria including training, available manpower and the ability to move water to a fire.
District 1, which includes Rocky Creek, Shipman, and Bexley fire departments, now boasts the county's highest fire rating of seven.
Rocky Creek Assistant Chief David Smith says an increase in volunteers, now more than 30, along with new equipment helped improve the rating. The county recently purchased a new pump truck for Rocky Creek.
Smith says that new truck with advanced technology will help when it comes to brush fires, as well as when working wrecks on the highway.
"The ladder coming down helps us a whole lot, and the rescue tools being pre-connected is going to help us a whole lot on working our accidents and stuff on the highway," Smith said.
Smith believes the new truck, and volunteers, will help maintain the new rating for the next 15 years.