JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - You'll soon see more firefighters on the ground in Moss Point. The Forts Lake-Franklin Creek Fire Station and the Escatawpa Volunteer Fire Department are joining forces due to a lack of volunteers.
"We felt like it's, it's a necessary move. It's one of those tough moves you just have to make," said Barry Cumbest, District 1 Supervisor for Jackson County.
It was a tough move indeed. Jackson County officials decided to move volunteer firefighters from Escatawpa and into Moss Point to man the Forts Lake station.
"They still have a good many volunteers in Escatawpa and they have enough folks to be able to man that fire department," Barry added.
It wasn't a swift decision. Barry said the county has seen this coming for a couple of years. "The Forts Lake area is a great area, but it's more of an older population. I guess would be a way to put it. They've had trouble keeping enough volunteers to man that department," said Barry.
He said that older population means less volunteers. Earl Etheridge with the Jackson County Emergency Management Agency calls firefighting a "young person's game," saying it takes a toll on your body. It also takes a toll on the fire rating, which impacts homeowner insurance rates.
Right now Moss Point sits at a six on a scale from one to 10; class one reflecting superior fire protection services.
Despite the additional help at Forts Lake, not everyone is happy with the move. "You know it's their fire department so to speak and they don't want to turn lose of that," Barry added. "We have to make the tough decisions. You know it has to be manned and it has to be manned properly or it does not function as it should function," Barry added.
Two paid firefighters will remain at Forts Lake around the clock. Also, the name will remain Forts Lake-Franklin Creek Fire Station.
If you are interested in volunteering, make sure to stop by.