Bill signed into law, district county fire lines could change

Bill signed into law, district county fire lines could change
District Lines/Photo credit: WDAM

LAMAR COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - House Bill 469 has been signed into law, and homeowners in some counties could find themselves in a fire district with an improved rating.

The house bill, now law, that goes into effect July 1, authorizes county supervisors to dissolve, redefine or reconfigure fire protection district lines.

"I think the new law is definitely a positive thing, it will be a tool for the supervisors to solve some problems that do exist," Lamar County Administrator Jody Waits said.

Lamar County has 13 fire stations in the county, and this new law could cut back on anymore needing to be built.

"We've got some departments that might be hurting now because they're going so far from their stations to cover an area when you've got another fire station, if you expanded the boundaries its closer," Lamar County Fire Coordinator George Stevens said.

Stevens said first responders and all county residents would benefit from any changes.

"One thing, it will help the citizens that weren't in a class A non-protection district now, so as soon as we can get the new lines in place, it will drop the rates, it will make response faster, ah it will make things a lot more efficient," Stevens said.

"We have a lot of people in this state who live within five miles of a fire station, but that station happens to be in a separate fire protection district," 101 House Rep. Brad Touchstone said previously, an author of the bill. "So rather than building fire stations to match current boundaries, we are going to be able to move the boundaries to best situate the fire stations."

Waits said the fire coordinator and other fire officials would identify the needs and present a plan to the supervisors before things would move forward.

"Where fire stations may not be the most strategically located as they are, we'll give them the ability to relocate some district lines, so they choose," Waits said. "There are some areas that aren't quite covered like they should be and this would give them the ability to do that."

Stevens said, "We've got some fire stations in one district, and across the road in another. I think it will just about affect every district in the county, some are just small changes, but it will help everyone out."