COVINGTON COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Covington County Fire Department is seeking volunteer fire fighters to bring their low numbers up. The county must maintain a certain number of firefighters to meet state requirements. Fewer volunteers means more potential hazards such as fires and car accidents that no one can assist with. It also means potentially higher insurance rates for home owners.
"What we do, someone needs to do it," says Rick Wilkins, fire chief coordinator. "You got to think, if I'm not doing it, who's going to do it? And if there's not any volunteers, then what are people going to do?"
The Covington area is seeking younger volunteers that are able to dedicate some of their free time to helping others. Almost all of the current volunteer fire fighters have full time jobs elsewhere, but volunteer their services to help others.
Home owners are negatively impacted when the fire departments ratings change. Few people on duty means a higher number ranking. The department currently stands at an 8 but fewer people could result in a ranking of a 10, which bumps up insurance rates.
"Well we need new people. We need personnel more than anything else," says Danny Beasley, fire chief. "All the fire departments throughout Covington County are lacking enough people to go out and fight the fire to go out and drive the trucks and things of that nature so we're in a real need of personnel more than anything else.
The county station has everything from various trucks to dive suits, which have come in handy while saving people from local lakes and creeks. To become a volunteer firefighter, contact the county EOC in Collins.
"The most important thing is saving lives. We have been blessed by saving lives," Wilkins said. "I help start this because my grandfather burn up in a house, that's one of the reasons you know. And you don't realize how important it is until it happens to you. The saving of life and property are the two most important things there are."