By CARL SMITH
District 5 volunteer firefighters held another water-pumping exercise Friday in a continuing push to achieve a Class 8 fire rating from the Mississippi State Fire Ratings Bureau.
In April, the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the creation of a Class 8-rated fire district for the District 5 Volunteer Fire Department Area after officials gathered enough signatures from land owners to support the jump and held public hearings on the matter.
All that stands between the ratings boost is a few equipment purchases, a visit from the MSFRB and certification from the state agency, Oktibbeha County Fire Services Coordinator Kirk Rosenhan said. Friday, volunteer firefighters completed a 30,000-gallon pumping exercise which simulated the same type of test MSFRB will conduct once in Oktibbeha County.
“We moved about 30,000 gallons per hour, and all of the paperwork and other requirements have been taken care of and are ready to go. Now we’re just waiting for the ratings bureau to set a date so we can do it for real,” Rosenhan said after Friday’s test. “We’ve completed this test numerous times in preparation so we can hone our skills as a volunteer fire department. We’re ready to go when (MSFRB officials) get here. I’m real proud of our District 5 guys. They really have gone in there and worked their tails off.”
In a previous board meeting, District 1 Supervisor John Montgomery said a switch from the current Class 10 rating to Class 8 could provide homeowners in D5VFD’s service area approximately 30 percent savings in insurance premiums. Montgomery works as a Starkville firefighter and has a background in the insurance industry.
“Going to a Class 8 is a big, big deal. It’s probably the best you can do in the county,” Montgomery said following April’s public hearing on establishing D5VFD as a rated Class 8 district. “Not only does it benefit those residents, but it also shows the direction we’re heading with our county fire services. We’re going to do anything we can to bolster our fire and law enforcement agencies.”