BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Alsen-St. Irma Lee Fire Chief Charles Jackson is a happy man these days. Alsen, St. Irma Lee spent the last two years with a 10 fire rating, which is the worst a department can receive. That rating will soon be changing with Alsen, St. Irma Lee earning a 5 on its latest inspection which will go into effect in January 2014.
"Getting our volunteer corps up is the mechanism that's going to make this whole thing work. It's very important and the key thing is those volunteers live right here in the community. That's the key factor," said Jackson.
Along with more certified firefighters on each call, things like water availability and proper equipment maintenance aided in the improved rating. That is good for the department but even better for those who live in the community.
"Business or home owners are looking at a bottom line," said Baton Rouge Metro Councilwoman Chauna Banks-Daniel.
Banks-Daniel represents homeowners in the Alsen area and says the new rating will equal lower insurance premiums for some residents who had to deal with tornado damage just one year ago.
"The reality that some people actually made the hard choice of not having insurance so they could make it was evident and even today many of the residents are still working on their homes so having the fire rating is significant," added Banks-Daniel. "It's a good day for the people of Alsen, I'm very happy for them."
Chief Jackson says he plans on adding four more volunteer firefighters in January and believes a four fire rating is possible in the near future.
"We're tweaking it now to make it even better so the folks here in the Alsen and St. Irma Lee community that's retired can rest assured that we're looking out for their best interests," said Banks-Daniel.