Community

Volunteer Firefighting in Jefferson Parish

One of the most important parts of any well-functioning community is, naturally, the fire department. Every day, these heroes work to keep the citizens of our community safe from fires and other disasters. In order to do the best job possible, fire departments depend on volunteers who are willing to take time out of their lives to dedicate themselves to making sure that their neighbors are safe.

In November 2017, the Harvey Volunteer Fire Department maintained the Class 2 rating that they have held for 32 years. This rating by the Property Insurance Agency of Louisiana (PIAL) grades fire departments on a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being the best and 10 being no fire protection at all) and means that all properties within the boundaries of the Harvey Volunteer Fire Department will continue to receive Class 2 insurance rates. Prior to 1985, the department held a Class 3 rating and first received their Class 2 rating in September of 1985. Since then, the fire department has been rated every 5 years, and the Class 2 rating means that residents pay lower fire protection insurance. Many factors are taken into account to achieve the rating such as manpower, training, water supply, communication, and fire prevention and these criteria must be maintained throughout the rating period. Other improvements have been made in the past decade such as increasing manpower and upgrading equipment and better documentation and record keeping.

Volunteer firefighters are necessary in making the department what it is and is an important part of keeping the community safe. If you think that you might be interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter in your community, there are some things that you should know. First and foremost, you must be 18 years old, of good moral character and pass a police background check. All applicants serve a 90-day probationary period during which they must attend in-house training, rookie school, membership meetings and respond to rolls. Regular membership meetings are held monthly. According to Jeff Patureau of the Jefferson Parish Fire Department, volunteer firefighters go through the same training as paid firefighters. Once their training is complete, they are given a pager so that they can be contacted for calls. The page will tell them what the call is and where the call is. If the volunteer firefighter is close to the station, they can ride on the truck or they can drive themselves directly to the scene where they are needed. In order to maintain an “active” status, a volunteer firefighter must make a certain number of calls every month. They also must have a certain amount of continuous training hours to remain in good standing. When attending to a call, a volunteer firefighter will have the same responsibilities and will be expected to perform the same tasks as a paid firefighter.

For more information about volunteering, contact the Jefferson Parish Fire Department at 349-5317.

About the author

Marielle Songy

Marielle Songy was born and raised on the Westbank and currently resides in Gretna. She is a graduate of Archbishop Blenk High School and UNO. A true Louisiana girl, Marielle enjoys creole food, jazz music and the occasional swamp tour.

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