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For the members of the ACI Volunteer Fire Department, a sense of responsibility for their own community is the foundation of the fantastic work that they do. “If I didn’t do it, how can I expect someone else to do it,” said ACI Fire Chief Todd Gore in regards to the reasons why he, and many of his current members, joined the department. This Department, nestled in the most southeastern corner of DeSoto County, has recognized the tremendous need for dedicated, responsible volunteers who want to take ownership of their community by volunteering to protect their friends and families rather than waiting for others to do the work. “The best part of working here is the feeling that you’re doing something for your community,” added Chief Gore. “You can help do something that matters.”
Dedication and responsibility are vital to the success of the ACI Fire Department. The volunteer certification class, which takes place each January, requires time, effort, and study to succeed. In addition to this, responding to emergencies can be mentally and physically demanding on those who choose to join. Chief Gore noted that he has seen new members respond to one or two calls and have to quit. Volunteer firefighting is a difficult job, but, for many, the lives and property saved through their work are well worth the time and energy they sacrifice.
ACI is the only remaining DeSoto County volunteer department with a fire rating of 10 (the lowest rating given by the Mississippi State Rating Bureau) but, through years of effort on the parts of the DeSoto County Board of Supervisors, the DeSoto County Emergency Management Agency (EMA), and the ACI Fire Department, this rating may soon see a decrease. An improvement in a fire districts rating can result in lowered home insurance rates for those who fall within the district. Supervisor Michael Lee is excited at the potential for a rating decrease in the near future, as ACI Fire Department falls within his district. “We want the community to know that we are working for the citizens by helping keep people safe and saving people money. Improving the fire insurance rating is a big deal.”
A volunteer fire department is an essential organization in this rural, but growing area of DeSoto County. According to DeSoto County’s GIS Department, twenty-two new residential structures have been built over the past year in ACI’s first response area. The ACI Fire Department currently has 22 members on roster, but their leadership would like to see this number grow. If you are interested in joining the ACI Volunteer Fire Department, you can contact the Department at 901-831-5125 to request an application.