ALBEMARLE — The Endy Volunteer Fire Department, located west of Albemarle, has procured two new trucks to replace older vehicles and improve their effectiveness rating.
“This year we’ve been able to purchase a new medical responder unit, and get it suited for the needs of our community,” Daniel Poplin, the EVFD’s chief, said. “We were also just recently able to purchase a water tanker that will be able to provide 3,000 gallons of water.”
Because of the rapidly advancing fire equipment available, the EVFD determined there was no use “throwing money at something that there would no longer be the parts to fix.” These older trucks would soon be made obsolete, so they decided to retire them and invest in the two new trucks.
The medical responder unit is a Ford F-250 specially outfitted for firefighting tasks, including transporting equipment to and from emergency scenes. The fire tanker is similar to a fire engine in function but carries more water — in this case, 3,000 gallons. Fire engines carry less than 1,000 gallons.
“We’re doing all this in hopes that in early 2020, we will apply for a lower ISO rating, which is our insurance inspection rating,” Poplin said. “Right now, we are a 9S, and we are hoping to drop down to a 7.”
This rating, Poplin said, is a large part of what determines a homeowner’s fire insurance premium. If the fire district a home is located in has a good rating, the insurance for locals will generally be lower.
To pay for these new trucks, Poplin said they needed to increase the fire tax in the district, but with a drop down to a 7 rating, “it would be a wash” for homeowners in terms of cost because of the decrease in their fire insurance rates. So, their homes would be safer without any overall increase out of their pocket, according to Poplin.
After applying for the lower ISO level, the N.C. Office of State Fire Marshal will inspect the station and determine whether their upgraded trucks and other improvements justify the better rating.
The Endy Fire Department responds yearly to between 300 and 380 calls, according to Poplin.
“Between 75 and 100 of those are fire-related alone, whether they are fires or fire alarms,” he said. “The majority are medical calls.”
There are 32 volunteer members at the moment, and around six of those are on shift at any particular moment.
To buy these trucks, the Stanly County Commission approved a tax-free loan for the fire department, and then the EVFD went to Uwharrie Bank to get the loan at a secured rate.