March 16, 2015 Rotogram: 30

Volunteer Starkville

Jamey Bachmann is executive director of Volunteer Starkville that connects volunteers and nonprofits to maximize community volunteer hours. Jennifer Usrey introduces her.

Next Week: MSU and Foreign Policy

Jamie Aron, a junior Political Science and Mathematics major at MSU, interns with the Borgen Project, a national campaign to focus U.S. foreign policy on global poverty. Ed Clynch introduces her.

For the Record—March 9

Invocation and pledge:          Hank Moseley

Attendance:                                             66%

Present — 97 (36 exempt)

Absent — 85 (20 exempt, 11 honorary)

Makeups reported: Briar Jones, Cary Hardin, Larry Mullins and Zach Rowland.

Guests: Visiting Rotarian was George McKee. Amanda Edwards was the guest of Rebecca Tabb. Guests of the club were Max Garzoni, RYE student, and Alex Holloway, Starkville Daily News.

Meeting Notes

  • President Michelle presented a $250 support check for the Templeton Ragtime Festival to Sid Salter representing the MSU Libraries. In addition to the festival on March 26-28, he mentioned the Marzalek Lecture focused on the Free State of Jones on March 18 and the Kinsey Collection of African American art on exhibit from March 21 through June 20.
  • Roy Ruby, immediate past president of the Starkville-Oktibbeha County Boys and Girls Club, accepted a $500 check for the organization.
  • The president noted that President-elect Zach and Vice President-elect Briar had just returned from the area Presidents Elect Training in Jackson.

Charity Stripe March Madness Fund Raiser

Step up to the Charity Stripe and take a shot for polio. Our second annual March Madness fundraiser runs through March 30. Charity Stripe generates money for Rotary International’s thirty-year-old Polio Plus Fund with pledges for every free throw made in the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

Fire Fighting in Oktibbeha County

March 9 — Recounting 52 years of fires, rescues and emergency medical responses in Oktibbeha County, Kirk Rosenhan, the county fire coordinator stressed that “fires are not put out with water, but with money.”

A member of several fire standards setting organizations, he explained how the county has moved from an all-volunteer operation to seven departments with 14 stations. With more than 60 fulltime personnel there is a multi-million dollar budget.

Starting from no funding at all about 50 years ago, the current county volunteer fire departments now receive $275,159 from county taxes, plus $120,000 from the State Department of Insurance administered rebate funds. Additional funding comes from insurance payments, grants, selling raffle tickets, selling address signs, family portraits and contributions.

A typical pumper costs $225,000 or more.

A tanker/tender costs a little less. Self-contained breathing apparatus costs up to $6,000. And, personal protective gear runs about $2,500

“Bad things happen to good people. Sometimes it’s their own fault, other times somebody else’s fault, and sometimes just bad luck,” said the registered engineer. “We strive to minimize the effects on people and property.”

Noting that fire is a relatively small portion of their calls, he said they have to be ready for them. The department’s basic mission has evolved into EMS, rescue and generally serving the public in their time of need.

Training is on-going. Each department has a monthly meeting and a separate training meeting. In addition there are local classes or ones via the Mississippi State Fire Academy. A recent series had 33 members finishing the Emergency Medical Responder class consisting of more than 70 hours of classroom work and exercises.

“The reason we have government is to provide for the safety, health and welfare of the citizenry,” said the Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers and member of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers. “One of the rather fundamental needs is protecting lives and property from the ravages of fire.”

Rosenhan is the only fire services coordinator that Oktibbeha County has had, serving since the office was established. In 1988, the State of Mississippi Fire Marshal’s Office within the State Department of Insurance started the program. Each of the 82 counties has a person appointed to administer, organize, guide and report on fire departments in their respective areas.

Before 1977, the Starkville Fire Department would go into the county for a $50 charge. That year, the county purchased five rural firetrucks assigned to Starkville, Maben and Sturgis. Rural stations and organizations were developed with rather limited resources.

In 1987, the county was awarded a grant to purchase five modern pumper trucks. Two went to Starkville for rural response, one to Maben and two to Sturgis. Later, new county volunteer departments were organized and the city assigned trucks were transferred to them along with the responsibility for rural calls.

Highlighting one of the county’s major hazard areas, he drew attention to the housing on Blackjack and Oktoc Roads near campus. There are more than 6,000 apartment beds in four complexes with another soon to be developed. Some units have sprinklers and some do not. He pointed out that one unit has burned down twice.

Insurance rates are set by the Mississippi State Rating Bureau which is funded by insurance companies. Fire insurance classes rate local protection on a scale of 1 to 10. A class 10 area has a basic list of firefighting resources.

All areas of Oktibbeha County have at least that designation. In addition to fire apparatus, equipment, communication, and personnel there are other administrative requirements. A reduction in classification is a good thing and results if more resources are available and certain travel distances are in place.

If the fire department can deliver 15,000 gallons of water in an hour to a location within a five mile distance from a fire station the rating can be reduced to a class 9. If the water delivery is increased to 30,000 gallons in an hour the rating will go to a Class 8, which in general results in a 20 percent reduction in fire insurance premiums.

There are presently four class 8 areas in the county with more coming. The city of Starkville enjoys a class 4 rating with 65 firefighters, hydrants and building codes.

Previous post:

Next post: