A Hot Day At The Office
The Bay St. Louis Fire Department is comprised of two main divisions - “combat” and administration - that work as one to provide the best emergency care possible to our community. The City of Bay St. Louis has two fire stations providing 24 hour manned service and response. Fire Station No. 1 is located at 543 Main Street and is also the location of the Administrative Offices. Fire Station No. 2 is located at 9998 Hwy 603 between the Hancock County Food Pantry and Road 556.
The Mississippi Rating Bureau which is an incorporated fire insurance rating and engineering organization that establishes advisory rates which play a part in determining the cost of your fire insurance, periodically inspects the department and assigns a “class” rating based on their findings. Bay St. Louis’ fire class rating is a “Class 5”. Some of the items that are inspected include our water system, firefighter training, code enforcement, operating policies, all department documents and records as well as the repair, maintenance and testing of equipment. The administration works diligently to ensure that the department meets all of the requirements of the Mississippi State Rating Bureau. You can learn more about how your fire department is “graded” by visiting the MSRB website at www.msratingbureau.com/Municipal_Grading.htm.
Firefighters - The Combat Division of the Department:
This division consists of 18 full-time firefighters that are divided between three shifts (or “tours”) of duty at the City's two stations, providing fire and emergency medical response “24/7/365”. In addition to conducting inspections, service testing equipment, participating in community events and teaching fire prevention, first aid and CPR classes our firefighters respond to more than 1,300 emergency calls each year. All of our firefighters and administrative personnel are certified to state and national standards; several are also Nationally Registered EMT’s or Paramedics.
Firefighters are on duty at both stations 24-hours a day - nights, weekends and holidays. The fire department responds to calls for fires and EMS emergencies within the city limits of Bay St. Louis and are ready to assist neighboring departments who request additional manpower or equipment. Likewise, we depend on neighboring departments to provide this same “mutual aid” when requested by our department.
Firefighter Qualifications and Training Requirements:
Mississippi state law requires all career firefighters to be certified by the Mississippi Minimum Standards Certification Board within one year of hire. After successful completion of the fire academy entrance exam (the Candidate Physical Agility Test) and the six-week basic firefighter training course at the Mississippi State Fire Academy, new recruits are certified as firefighters by the State of Mississippi as well as the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. Firefighters who hold an IFSAC certification from another state may apply to the Mississippi Minimum Standards Board for certification as a Mississippi firefighter. After completion of the basic fire academy course, firefighters continue training throughout their career in a wide variety of areas, including Hazardous Materials, High Angle Rescue, Emergency Vehicle Driving, Pumper Operations, Officer Training, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Fire Prevention Education and Vehicle Extrication, as well as emergency medical training such as Medical First Responder and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Fire Chief, Office Manager and Chief Officers - The Administrative Division of the Department:
The department’s administration manages all aspects of the department’s operations - training, purchasing, maintenance and repair of all vehicles, facilities and equipment; community events; personnel management, scheduling and payroll; code enforcement, disaster planning, construction plan reviews; budget planning and management - as well as managing and operating the City’s Emergency Alert Systems and social media (such as Facebook) to provide the public with safety information or emergency notifications.
The City of Bay Saint Louis has adopted the International Code Council 2012 Fire Codes. These codes are designed to identify and protect the public from conditions or activities that pose fire or safety hazards and other threats to the public safety and welfare. These codes are based largely on lessons learned from tragic fires and lives lost due to hazardous conditions or activities - many of which could have been prevented if fire and safety practices had been identified or enforced. All members of the fire department are responsible for identifying hazards and enforcing the codes; the fire chief is “the authority having jurisdiction” (or “AHJ”) over all matters pertaining to fire hazards, life and safety hazards and other conditions that adversely affect the public safety. The primary goal of the fire department is to prevent the loss of life or property and protect the public from conditions or situations that threaten the safety of the community.