Pearl River County Consolidates Volunteer Fire Departments, Holds Clean-Up Day

Published 11:50 am Monday, June 17, 2024

Pearl River County Emergency Services organized a clean-up day at the Derby Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) on Saturday, marking a significant step in the county’s ongoing consolidation of local fire departments.

The initiative merges the Steep Hollow, Northeast, Derby, and Ammackertown VFDs into a single unit, a move aimed at streamlining operations and improving service efficiency. Shawn Wise, the Emergency Services Director, and County Administrator Adrian Lumpkin cited several benefits, including enhanced state-level reporting, faster and higher-quality service, and reduced redundancy.

“This consolidation allows us to manage all administrative tasks centrally, which frees up our firefighters to focus on their primary responsibilities,” said Wise. Lumpkin added that the new structure would ensure seamless coordination across different stations, eliminating departmental barriers and allowing for a more cohesive response to emergencies.

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The clean-up event drew participation from key figures in the local fire services, including Ashley Redden, Derby Fire Chief; Aaron Lunt, Ammackertown Fire Chief; Landon Whear, Northeast Fire Chief; and Jonathan Head, Pearl River County Fire Marshal. Volunteers and community members also joined the effort, working together to prepare the Derby VFD for its new role within the unified department.

The consolidation addresses a longstanding challenge of redundancy and administrative overhead that has affected the county’s fire services. The county aims to create a more robust and agile emergency response system by unifying the departments. This change is expected to enhance the effectiveness of fire operations, from tackling house fires to responding to car accidents and other emergencies.

Lumpkin highlighted the importance of seamless communication between the different stations. “We’ve integrated advanced communication systems and standardized protocols across the new unified department,” he said. “This ensures that no matter where an incident occurs, the nearest team can respond without delay or confusion.”

As the county progresses with the consolidation, plans are in place to conduct additional training sessions for all firefighters. These sessions will focus on familiarizing the teams with the new systems and protocols, ensuring that every firefighter is well-prepared to operate within the unified structure.

The clean-up day at the Derby VFD was just the beginning of this process. Pearl River County officials are committed to making the transition as smooth as possible and are optimistic about the future. With improved efficiency, enhanced service standards, and better resource allocation, the consolidated VFD aims to set a new standard for emergency services in the region.

By taking over the backend operations, the county aims to support firefighters more effectively, allowing them to concentrate on their critical work without administrative distractions. The ultimate goal is to provide a safer environment for all residents and ensure the firefighters have everything they need to perform their duties efficiently and effectively.