Fire department's certification will save residents money

By Chip Washington - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

LOVE, MS (WMC-TV) - A volunteer fire department in north Mississippi recently earned a certification that will likely save residents money on insurance costs.

It took several years, countless hours of training, and a lot of record keeping, but the Love Fire Department recently earned a Class 9 certification.

For the 30 member volunteer department, it was a long process, and a great achievement.

"They started looking at our paperwork, ladder testing, hose testing, apparatus testing, training and personal files," chief Shawn Witt said.

Witt has been with the department since 1992, becoming chief in 2003. It was then he went about the process of collecting signatures and lobbying the Board of Supervisors to create the Love Fire District.

Witt said the rating upgrade is very important for residents because it will save many people money on homeowners' insurance.

"With the Class 9 and obviously we're in hard times, each homeowner should receive an 18 to 24 percent decrease in their annual premiums.>

Thomas Bumpas, president of the Buena Vista Homeowners Association, said the cost savings are good, but he is just happy to have them in the neighborhood.

"It's just a wonderful thing to have," he said. "They're such an improvement for the community, you know, and it gives us the protection that we need."

Witt said that his eventual goal is to achieve a 7 rating, which is the highest a volunteer fire department can get.

He is also looking at using social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter for better communication with the community.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.