Bogue Chitto VFD plans truck purchase

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 1, 2009

Local governments are always applying for, receiving andspending state and federal grant funding, but one upcoming round ofhelp-out money will make a big difference for checkbooks all aroundBogue Chitto.

Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey said thecounty is in line to receive a 50-50 matching grant of $75,000through the Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Assistance Program, whichwill be used to purchase a new fire engine for the Bogue ChittoVolunteer Fire Department. The approximately $200,000 truck thedepartment plans to purchase with the funds will not only go a longway toward improving its fire fighting capabilities, but will alsohelp the department maintain its Class 9 rating and the associatedreduction in home insurance premiums for local residents.

“This is a win-win situation. The state is getting a big bangfor their buck … and this will help (Bogue Chitto VFD)tremendously in keeping their Class 9 rating for years to come,”Galey said. “It will also give them more updated equipment at theirsecond station.”

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Galey said the truck being eyed by fire and county officials isa Class A Pumper, capable of holding 3,000 gallons of water andpumping 500 gallons per minute. The truck also has a large enginewith plentiful horsepower to help pull its weight around.

Bogue Chitto’s new truck will also keep the county on an evenfield, Galey said. Currently, all eight of the VFDs have at leastone modern fire truck less than 10 years old, and grant recipientsare decided by the local association on a need-based scale, set upwhen the assistance program began in 1994. He said the currentgrant opportunity would be the ninth one awarded in the countysince the program began, and as grants continue to flow in, morenew trucks will be added.

“We’ve not ever lost one,” Galey said of the grants. “Every timethey say there’s money there, we’ve turned in our paperwork andgotten a fire truck.”

Galey said the annual grant should be awarded in earlyOctober.

Equally important for Bogue Chitto homeowners is thecontinuation of the VFD’s Class 9 rating. State Fire CoordinatorLarry Barr said a 3,000-gallon pumper will be plenty to maintainthe rating, which equates to an 18-20 percent reduction ininsurance premiums for local homeowners.

“That means they’re trying like heck to go to a Class 8, andthat ought to tickle the homeowners pink out there,” he said. “AClass 8 would save them around 30 percent.”

Barr said a Class 9 rating is the average for VFDs around thestate. The insurance rating is graded on a scale of 1 to 10, withone being perfect and 10 being the absolute worst. He said thereare no Class 1 fire departments in Mississippi.

“To hold it at a nine, you’re not doing bad at all,” Barr said.”People don’t realize how much it takes to do that, and how muchtime is consumed by the volunteers to do that.”