- Associated Press - Monday, April 20, 2015

VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) - Mayor George Flaggs Jr. wants the Vicksburg Fire Department to reach a Class 1 fire rating - the top fire rating in the state that no other fire department in the state holds - within five years.

According to the Mississippi State Rating Bureau, The Vicksburg Post reports (https://bit.ly/1EhbeHn) the highest rated fire departments in the state presently are Jackson and Southaven, which both have Class 3 ratings.

“I want the board to adopt a comprehensive plan that will get us to a Class 1 rating,” Flaggs told Fire Chief Charles Atkins and other city officials at a meeting to prepare a five-year plan for the fire department. “That’s the goal. If not, there’s no need in trying. We may not get to Class 1, but I certainly believe we can get better than 3 or 2.”

Vicksburg currently has a Class 5 fire rating, Atkins said, adding the city has had that rating for 31 years.

“That is totally unacceptable for me, if I’m mayor,” Flaggs said. “I just believe in improving.”

The state’s fire rating classification range from 1 through 10, with a Class 10 being the worst.

A fire department’s rating is based on a point system that assigns a maximum score to different categories such as emergency communication, quality of equipment, manpower, the number of engine companies and water supply.

“The Mississippi Rating Bureau has everything to do what the fire service has to do with,” Atkins said. “They govern us in a way that is done across the state. They have a scale and a model that they have to go by, and we have to adhere to if we want to move up from the rate we are now.”

Atkins recommended purchasing a quint fire truck, truck that can perform five functions as a pumper, water truck, hose truck, aerial device, and ladder truck, as a way to back up the department’s aerial trucks.

Atkins also said the department would have to meet state manpower regulations, which require at least three firefighters on each truck and four on an aerial truck.

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Information from: The Vicksburg Post, https://www.vicksburgpost.com

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