Commissioner of Insurance and State Fire Marshal, George Dale announced Thursday a record disbursement of $14,411,531.96 of State Fire Rebate Insurance funds to Cities and Counties. Counties will receive $7,176,898. It is the largest such disbursement since 1988.
In 1988, the Mississippi Legislature launched a major initiative to provide low-cost quality fire protection on a statewide basis.
Funding to cities and counties was equalized conditioned upon counties taking the lead in developing rural fire protection. Since 1988 over $190 million has been disbursed under this program.
The over all implementation and administration was given to the Commissioner of Insurance. When the Mississippi Insurance Department was given oversight there were only 350 fire departments statewide with less than 5,000 firefighters.
Today, that number has increased to more than 750 main stations supporting more than 1,200 substations manned by more than 15,000 firefighters. Approximately 13,000 of these firefighters are volunteers.
These departments responded to more than 140,000 calls this past year.