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Hayneville VFD prepares for re-evaluation

Hayneville’s volunteer firefighters (l-r) Deanna Martin, Shanakaw Rudolph, Ron Hayes, Dennis Broadnax, Deputy Chief Scott Holmes, Chief Jesse McCall, Terrell Means, Chris Baker, Fritz “Zilla” Lewis and Ronnie Daniels pose for a photo during the department’s Boston butt fundraiser. (Not pictured) Kelvin Mitchell, Rosa Lewis, Elizabeth Thomas, Susie Smith, Helenor Bell, Annie Robinson, Karl Bell, Jr, Justin Pouncey, Jerome Hinson, Mathew Waldo, Selebra Philon and Chris Hollingshead.

In hopes of helping local residents lower insurance costs, the Hayneville Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) is preparing for another evaluation for the Insurance Services Organization (ISO), according to Hayneville VFD Fire Chief Jesse McCall.

The VFD received a classification of 10 by the ISO during the first quarter of 2010 causing resident’s homeowners insurance policies to increase upon renewal, said volunteer firefighter Ronnie Daniels.

“The higher the number, the worse it is,” said Daniels. “Right now we are at a 10.”

ISO evaluates fire departments every two years, but will return upon request after one year.

The ISO surveys departments on functioning fire hydrants, records, vehicles and water supply, which is 40-percent of a department’s rating. The evaluation directly affects homeowners insurance rates.

Hayneville received its rating as a result of improper bookkeeping, said Deputy Fire Chief Scott Holmes.

Holmes said the department will request a re-evaluation during the first quarter of 2011 and is aiming for a rating of six.

Over the past several months, the VFD has implemented new and improved training and administration methods to improve this rating.

The department is constantly holding fundraisers and accepting donations to purchase additional equipment.

“We can ask for donations from citizens, but we are shooting for Emergency Management Agency (EMA) funds and Assisted Firefighter Grants (AFG),” said Holmes. “AFG is the one everyone goes for…that’s the big one.”

Several new volunteers have joined the Hayneville VFD over the past month taking on various responsibilities.

Hundreds of responsibilities are open to volunteers, but Holmes said the department needs manpower.

It is mandatory for each volunteer to complete 12 hours of training within a year — about one hour per month.

However Hayneville’s volunteers have received a total of 293 hours since the beginning of the year.

Training includes driver training, structure and vehicle firefighting, search and rescue, patient care and learning about fire behavior.

Hayneville’s VFD responds to an estimated six-to-eight calls per month and assists a majority of Lowndes County, Holmes added. Call responses do not count toward training.

“When we go to a fire, it is all about business,” Holmes said. “But, I will not ask anyone to go into a fire if they don‘t feel comfortable.”