VANN CROSSROADS — Jamey Jones, chief of the Vann Crossroads Volunteer Fire Department, and his volunteer firefighters are still excited over the recent rating change that benefits not only the department but those within the fire district.
The department received a rating of 6 following a recent routine inspection.
“We are still so excited to have received a 6,” stated Jones. “We thought maybe we would receive a 7, but to get a 6, that was unexpected, and we are truly proud of our department’s accomplishment.
The North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin sent the announcement to Jones and the department earlier this month. The new rating will go into affect Saturday, Dec. 1. The inspection, conducted by officials with the Department of Insurance, Office of State Fire Marshal, is required on a regular basis as part of the N.C. Response Rating System (NCRRS). Among other things, the routine inspections look for proper staffing levels, sufficient equipment, proper maintenance of equipment, communications capabilities and availability of a water source.
“We have put in a massive amount of time and labor to receive this rating and we are very pleased,” said Jones. “There really is no telling how many man hours we have put in to get this rating. We decided that we wanted this about five years ago and committed ourselves to get the job done. A lot of record keeping, training and funds were needed to meet the high standards to achieve the rating of 6. It is about the best rating a rural department like ours can hope to receive,” remarked the chief.
The chief went on to explain that in addition to the classroom training that all the firemen received, there was truck maintenance, equipment readiness and availability, water flow per minute and the availability of water whether from a hydrant or a pond and even the number of lines available into the 911 center in Clinton, amoung other items that were taken into account when determining the rating.
“I am thankful to the county for maintaining the hydrants in such a manner to assist us in the new rating. Because everyone has worked together so hard, we now see that it is going to pay off,” cited Jones.
The NCRRS rating system ranges from 1, which is the highest, to 10, which is not recognized as a certified fire department by the state. Most rural departments fall into the 9S category. While lower ratings do not necessarily indicate poor service, a higher rating does suggest that a department is overall better equipped to respond to fires in the district. A higher rating can also significantly lower homeowners insurance rates in that fire district.
“I would like to congratulate Chief Jones for his department’s performance and for the hard work of all the department members,” stated Goodwin. “The citizens in the Vann Crossroads Fire District should rest easy knowing they have a fine group of firefighters protecting them and their property in case of an emergency,” expressed the commissioner.
State law requires the Office of the State Fire Marshal to inspect departments serving district of 100,000 people or less, which makes up all but six of the state’s fire departments.
Jones shared that currently the Vann Crossroads department has a total of 31 members. He also noted that of those members, a total of six who started as volunteers in the department are now professional firefighters with five in Fayetteville and one in Erwin.
“There are a number of people to thank for our being able to achieve this level or proficiency,” explained Jones. “I would like to thank my Board of Directors for allowing us the funds and support needed to get this job done. The community has always and continues to be very supportive of the department and helps us to want to serve them even more and we thank them also. We are glad that through this new rating we will help them see the benefits through lower insurance rates starting in December. I commend each member of the department for the unselfish time, dedication and commitment each member has given to the department,” acknowledged Jones.