Volunteer Fire departments vital to communities

By Chris Coleman, county fire coordinator

The first fire department in America was established in Boston, Massachusetts in 1679. Since that time, fire departments have become a crucial part of keeping cities, towns, communities, and wildlife safe from the dangers of an out-of-control fire.

The most basic goal of any fire department is to prevent the loss of life and property related to fire incidents. Yet, many people do not realize that outside of physically putting out fires, the fire department is also responsible for conducting fire safety inspections, and promoting fire safety education within the community.

Choctaw County is blessed to have nine volunteer fire departments placed within our boundary lines. These volunteer departments are comprised of over 120 total residents of our county who give of their time and effort to respond at any time of the day or night.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, 71 percent of firefighters in the United States are volunteers.

The nine departments that protect our county work together, as a whole, when the need arises. However, each department serves an individual area of the county itself. Care and respect for each individual served and property protected is at the center of each department’s willingness to safeguard and serve the residents of Choctaw County.

Every volunteer must have the ability to embrace and absorb change and, at the same time, remain positive, focused, and proactive in his and her willingness to serve. Thus, each year through the Mississippi State Fire Academy, our county provides 24 hours of free continuing education to the volunteers of our departments.

With dedicated members, training, progressive problem solving minds, and the drive to save and protect lives, property, and the environment, Choctaw County is fortunate to have men and women who are willing to team together to face the next challenge that is presented to them when the alarm sounds.

Editor’s note Other Volunteer Fire Department volunteer photos appear on the following page.