Citizens needed to help VFD lower ISO rating -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Citizens needed to help VFD lower ISO rating

Brian Boutwell Brian Boutwell
James Clinkscales James Clinkscales

The Valdosta Fire Department was preparing Monday to continue its effort to try to help Valdosta taxpayers save money, and citizens can help.

The fire department was looking to add to the eight citizens on the department's Citizens Fire Academy Response Team. Having more citizens will help the department bring its ISO rating down from a two to a one, which will in turn allow citizens to pay less for fire insurance.

If you're home goes up in smoke, firefighters rush to the scene to get the fire under control.

But, equally important is making sure that the firefighters health stays under control during and after fighting the fire. That's where the Citizens Fire Academy Response Team comes in.

"They can help with passing out wet towels, passing out hydration fluids and making sure that everybody goes through and gets their vital signs and it actually enhances the overall safety of the firefighters," Valdosta Fire Department Battalion Chief Brian Boutwell explained.

The fire department is also working to get even more credit through the citizens' help by training them to be an auxiliary unit to the firefighters.

Not only would that help the fire department earn even more credit towards bringing down its ISO rating, but it would also help free up emergency personnel to handle other calls.

"If we don't have this auxiliary team with the citizens fire academy, then it takes fire certified personnel in this and also South Georgia Medical Center assists in this task," Bat. Chief Boutwell noted.

To be a member of the Citizens Fire Academy Response Team, you have to first complete the citizens fire academy class. "It gives them a taste of everything from emergency medical to hazmat to what we do in prevention," said Valdosta Fire Marshal Cpt. James Clinkscales.

The deadline to sign up for the class is Friday, July 31st. This is the second year the class has been held and both Bat. Chief Boutwell and Cpt. Clinkscales said a lot of people are interested and the department is looking forward to getting the class started on September 8th.

To sign up for the class, call the Valdosta Fire Department at (229) 333-1835.

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