Kemper County is served by twelve volunteer fire departments: Damascus, DeKalb, District 3, Kemper Springs, Mt Salem, Mt. Nebo, New Hope, Preston, Porterville, Scooba, Spring Hill, and 3-Mile Corner. All members are volunteers who donate their time and efforts to serve the citizens of Kemper County. DeKalb and Scooba are municipal departments while the rest are county departments. The county departments are governed by the Kemper County Fire Coordinator, Ben Dudley, and the County Fire Board which is composed of representatives from each department and each Supervisor's district. Each department has the equipment and expertise to fight many types of fires including structure fires, car fires, grass and woodland fires. Three of the departments, DeKalb, Preston, and 3-Mile Corner, have hydraulic rescue tools, commonly referred to as the "Jaws of Life", to assist in the extrication of victims entrapped in vehicles due to accidents. Six departments, Damascus, Porterville, Preston, Scooba, Spring Hill, and 3-Mile Corner have Emergency Medical Responders that volunteer to assist the county ambulance service as needed. There are other incidents that our VFD's are involved in: assisting in clearing of roads after storms, assisting law enforcement, and yes, we will even help get your cat out of the tree!
The 10 county fire departments are funded through 1.25 mills of ad valorem taxes and an annual rebate from the State Insurance Commissioner's Office. The municipal departments are funded through their respective jurisdictions and the insurance rebate. There are several ways that the volunteers have the opportunity to maintain and improve their skill level. Each VFD in Kemper County holds regular training sessions to learn and maintain their skills at their respective departments. Twice a year the MS State Fire Academy conducts a 3-day fire school for all of the departments. There are other training opportunities in surrounding jurisdictions throughout the year.
Kemper County currently has between 80 and 100 volunteer fire fighters. These men and women are dedicated to serving and helping to protect or communities in times of emergency. Kemper County Fire Departments are always looking for dedicated volunteers. If you are interested in finding out more about the Kemper County Volunteer Fire Departments and how you can be a part of helping to protect your community, you can contact Ben Dudley, KC Fire Coordinator, at 601-527-2393.