Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does a Volunteer Fire Department work?
A: Volunteer Fire Departments are made up of people in a community that have the willingness to help others. These people are usually self-motivated invididuals who enjoy teamwork. Through training and experience, these people learn about firefighting, emergency medical services and many other aspects of the fire service.
Q: What is the difference between a Volunteer Fire Department and a "regular" Fire Department?
A: The difference is exactly what the name implies! In most cities/municipalities or urban areas, the firefighers are paid career firefighters. Just like a regular job, when they get up in the morning they put on a uniform and go to work. In most rural areas and some smaller cities, the firefighters are volunteers. They go about their lives, jobs and other activities just like you do. Any training that they receive must be balanced with families and hobbies.
Q: I live in Biggersville. What is my current fire insurance rating?
A: The current fire rating for the Biggersville fire protection area is a Class 8. This is vital information that your house insurance agent needs to know. This rating was effective in early 2016. For more information, visit the Mississippi Rating Bureau by CLICKING HERE.
Q: How do Volunteer Fire Departments receive funding?
A: Volunteer Fire Departments receive funding from many different ways. In most cases, a county or city government provide some funding. However, in most cases, this funding is only enough to cover utilites, overhead costs and insurance for a department. Funding is also received through fundraisers and donations from a community. On average, Biggersville Fire & Rescue receives approximately $10,000 in Insurance Rebate Funds and $13,000 in County Millage Funds.
Q: How are these funds spent?
A: The following is a rough outline of how these funds are spent at Biggersville Fire & Rescue: Approximately $7,000 per year is dedicated to Insurance costs, $6,000 per year for utilites and fuel, $1,000 toward public relations and fire prevention programs for local schools, $5,000 per year for the purchase and replacement of equipment and $3,500 per year in vehicle service and maintenance.
Q: What is the difference between a First Responder and a Firefighter?
A: Actually, there is usually very little. Since the 1970's, fire departments all across America have also included Emergency Medical Services. All firefighters are trained in basic life supports skills such as CPR and First Aid. Many other firefighters are EMT's, Paramedic and even Registered Nurses. First Responders are usually sent to medical emergency calls to assist the patient until an ambulance arrives.
Q: Why do firefighters drive those big engines to medical calls?
A: Firefighters are always prepared for any situation. In some cases, they are required to leave one emergency call to respond to another one without returning to their station. You have to ask yourself how you would feel if your house caught fire while your local fire department was assisting an elderly person who had fell. Would you want them to take the time to drive all the way back to their station and get dressed before they responded to you house? I think not... If they are already prepared to respond to the next call, they can be on their way. This can save precious minutes that are needed to save lives and property.
Q: When I pass my local fire department, I see vehicles outside. What's going on?
A: Volunteer firefighters can be at their station for many reasons. Meetings, training, repairs to equipment and filing run reports just to name a few. At times, a volunteer station may be manned to dramatically reduce the response times to emergency calls.
Q: What at the Jaws of Life® and how are they used?
A: "Jaws of Life®" is a registered trademark of the HURST Corporation. This term is usually used to refer to extrication tools used by a fire department. These are hydraulic powered tools that assist in cutting and separating parts of an automobile or other vehicle when a person has been entrapped in a motor vehicle collision. These are very dangerous tools and it takes a lot of training to use them. A device called an "air bag" is also commonly used in assist firefighters on entrapment calls. These air powered lifting bags are made from heavy duty neoprene and are capable of lifting large heavy items such as cars and loaded semi-truck trailers with ease, allowing emergency personnel the ability to reach patients that are in danger.
Q: How many Volunteer Fire Departments in Alcorn County, MS?
A: There are a total of 10 departments; Farmington, Glen, Jacinto, Rienzi, Biggersville, Southwest Alcorn, Pisgah, Kossuth, Wenasoga, and Union Center/Theo. These departments provide a combined force of over 150 volunteer firefighters, first responders and rescue personnel to Alcorn County and surrounding areas.
Q: Why do firefighters break windows and cut holes in a roof during a fire?
A: As a fire burns, it moves upward, then outward. Removing windows and cutting holes in the roof, ventilation in firefighting terms, stops that damaging outward movement of smoke and heat and enables us to locate potential victims, and fight the fire more efficiently, resulting in less damage in the long run. This procedure also reduces the risk of serious injury to firefighters.
Q: Why do firefighter put holes in the walls and ceilings?
A: Firefighters have to be absolutely sure there was no "hidden" fire inside the walls, ceilings and partitions. If there is and it is not detected, there is a great chance that the fire will rekindle and do additional damage before it can be extinguished.
Q: How does a Volunteer Fire Department know when there is an emergency?
A: After a call to 911 is placed in Alcorn County, volunteer firefighters are dispatched using a text message sent to their private cellular telephones or to an alpha-numeric pager that can display the text message. From there, the firefighter stops whatever it is they are doing and responds to their nearest station in their personally owned vehicle to dress in the appropriate gear and get a fire engine. Volunteers are always ready to respond whether they are eating supper with their family or playing with their children, they are always ready to answer the call of help.
Q: Other than fires, what do Volunteer Fire Departments do?
A: As mentioned earlier, firefighter also respond to emergency medical calls. However, the list doesn't stop there. Volunteer firefighters are dispatched to all kinds of situations -- not all of them emergencies. If a public service is needed, such as helping an elderly person who has fallen, the volunteer fire department is sent. Many other situations such as search & rescue operations, traffic control for wrecks, installing smoke detectors, preparing and suggesting fire prevention plans, inspecting local businesses for fire hazards, teaching fire prevention programs in schools and day cares, and cutting trees and removing debris from roadways after storms also utilize local volunteer firefighters.
Q: Where does the water come from to fight fires?
A: Water is usually taken from the local water supply source in the area. This water is easily accessible in urban areas through fire hydrants and flush plugs. In more rural areas, fire hydrants are still available but are usually located great distances from each other. Water can also be used from swimming pools or lakes and ponds; this water poses a danger to fire engine pumps because of the chemicals used in swimming pools and unknown hazards in natural bodies of water, but in an emergency situation they may be used. A small pool, known as a "dump tank" is a common method of supplying water in Alcorn County. A dump tank is a portable tank carried on the fire engine that can be set up at an emergency scene. Fire department tanker trucks, that are capable of transporting thousands of gallons of water, shuttle the needed water from a nearby fire hydrant to the dump tank to keep a constant supply of water to the firefighters.
Q: Can I get a firetruck/firefighter to come to my event?
A: Certainly! We request at least 2 week notification before the event so we can prepare. We can also can assist you in arranging for other attrations to come such as the Alcorn Sheriff's Office K9 Unit, DARE Unit or the AirEvac Air Ambulance Service. Contact us by clicking here for more information.
Q: How can I help my local Volunteer Fire Department?
A: Simply click here to find out more!