AVAWAM — Residents of the Avawam Volunteer Fire Dept. district will be eligible to receive a decrease in home owners insurance, starting this summer. The district includes Avawam, Big Creek, Willard, Brownsfork, Couchtown, Combs and Town Mountain. Effective July 1, the home owners insurance rating in these communities will be lowered from a Class 9 rating to a Class 4 rating. This can save residents over half on home owners insurance premiums.
Home owners in this district are encouraged to contact their insurance companies and request an update on their rating. Avawam Volunteer Fire Dept. will be sending a letter to some of the insurance companies that are local to notify them. However, home owners are still advised to contact their insurance companies after July 1 to make sure the proper rating is applied.
Avawam Volunteer Fire Dept. Chief Leonard Toler said, “I would like to thank all of our members who worked diligently to help achieve this rating. To some people this is not a big deal but to others it is a great accomplishment for a Volunteer Fire Department. To get a lower class rating means your members and Board of Directors have had to dedicate a lot of time away from family and friends to do a lot of hard work, which includes training, testing equipment two times a year, such as pump testing trucks, flow testing Hydrants, pressure testing hoses, working with officials in the Water Department and Perry County 911 Center, gathering information to be used, plus buying equipment needed to achieve the maximum amount of points per truck. Also, there is a lot of paperwork involved in this process.”
Avawam Volunteer Fire Dept. started working to achieve this rating in 2008 and has continued since then. The process required several people and an abundance of training, which included participating in classes. Special equipment is also required to achieve the rating, which meant Avawam Volunteer Fire Dept. had to organize extensive fundraising efforts.
“Some equipment needed replaced because it was worn out over the years and we had to replace it and then buy other equipment that was needed too,” said Toler, “To totally outfit a fire fighter from the top of their head to the bottoms of their feet costs almost $10 thousand. This includes a special coat and pants, special gloves and boots, a special hood and helmet, plus a breathing apparatus that rests on their backs, which alone costs $5,500. Then we also have to buy communication equipment, pagers and radios, so we can talk to our people on an incident, such as inside a burning building, on a search and rescue of a missing person or on a car wreck and a medical emergency. Newer equipment, such as a thermal imaging camera, also helps us see in the smoke. A thermal imaging camera costs anywhere from $6 to $15 thousand. This camera cuts down on us having to search like we used to do by crawling the entire room looking for someone. The camera lets you scan a room, and if you don’t see or hear anyone, move on to the next room. This cuts down on time and allows us to find people faster. We now have two of these cameras. One we had to purchase out right and the other we received with help of a grant that covered half of the cost. We had to raise the other half of the funding ourselves.”
With the recent economic troubles, funding for local Volunteer Fire Departments is on the decline. The decrease in coal severance tax funding has also hurt the volunteer fire departments. We try to find other funding through grants and donations. Donations from the community, grants and fund raising events organized by the volunteers are vital to keeping the fire departments in service. If Avawam Volunteer Fire Dept. was not present in its community, the insurance rates would once again increase.
“If people send us a quarter of the half we save you on your insurance, we could purchase more equipment and go lower with this rating in the future,” said Toler.
If you would like to donate to the Avawam Volunteer Fire Dept., you can mail your donation to Avawam Volunteer Fire Department P.O. Box 369 Avawam, Kentucky, 41713. Also, residents of other communities are encouraged to make donations to the volunteer fire dept. that serves them.
Sam Neace can be reached at 606-629-3243 or on Twitter @HazardHerald.