The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Ville Platte Fire Chief Chris Harrison at its meeting at the Family Life Center.
Chief Harrison has been chief for the past four years and has been serving in the department for 24 years. He is the chief for the Ville Platte Fire Department and of Fire District Two which is all of Ward One outside of Ville Platte.
The department is getting ready for a re-rating by the state fire insurance rating commission. The rating determines fire insurance and homeowners insurance rates.. The rating is between a 1 and 10 with 1 the very best and 10 the worst. Currently the city has a 3 rating while Fire District has a 5 rating. Chief Harrison said only five departments in the state like Shreveport and Baton Rouge have a One rating.
The Ville Platte Fire Department has 12 paid firefighters and 65 volunteers. There are a number of volunteers at fire stations in Chataignier, Faubourg and Belaire Cove.
Chief Harrison shared the fact that fire equipment is very expensive. To outfit one firefighter, the turnout gear amounts $1900 plus the radio is $150. Airpacks that are used by firefighters to go into burning buildings cost $5200. The city is planning to purchase a new Ladder truck to replace its old unit with a price tag of $690,000.
A new fire station for Ward One is due to be constructed on US 167 just north of Ville Platte. He advised club members that phone calls for fire department donations are not coming from his department. The fire department will not call for donations. They will contact businesses for one fund raising drive a year to purchase educational material to use in school classrooms.
Chief Harrison was the special guest of Rotarian Kermit Miller.