DeSoto County officials hope to provide better fire service - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

DeSoto County officials hope to provide better fire service

The fastest growing county in Mississippi wants to ensure there are enough fire stations to protect every home. The fastest growing county in Mississippi wants to ensure there are enough fire stations to protect every home.

(WMC-TV) – The fastest growing county in Mississippi wants to ensure there are enough fire stations to protect every home.

DeSoto County Supervisor Lee Caldwell says safety is the most important thing for county residents. So the county formed a safety panel to prioritize spending to make sure even the folks in the most remote areas are protected.

In an emergency, minutes, even seconds can be the difference between life and death.

"We want to reevaluate our fire and ambulance service in the county," Caldwell said.

Five city fire departments and nine volunteer departments make up the defense for the county.

"In a rural area you're counting on volunteer fire departments, and again, the response time may not be as quick and the distance to the fire department is sometimes going to be greater," she said.

Caldwell said the committee will divvy out resources to the departments.

"I can't say anyone stands out more than the others because there are so many needs," she said. "We just have to determine what the greatest need is first."

DeSoto County Emergency Services Deputy Director Mike Hancock said the fire insurance ratings for the areas in the county are on a scale of one to ten and the rating is based on several factors.

"The equipment, the age of your equipment, how much water you bring to the scene, how much water is available to refill with, or whether there's hydrants in the area, how much man power you can put on the scene and the training of your personnel," he said.

Several areas in the county have the lowest rating and Hancock said the committee was formed to boost those ratings.

Hancock and Lee are confident that the committee will be able to increase protection while also lowering the fire insurance ratings.

They've already started using GPS to track all the fire hydrants in the county for faster response.

Hancock says by lowering those areas with a rating of 10 to an 8, property owners could see a 25 to 30 percent drop in their fire insurance rates.

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