Bethel Fire Department honored for commitment to public safety

BETHEL, N.C. (WITN) – Chief Darren Saunders and the Bethel Volunteer Fire Department were recently recognized by the North Carolina Department of Insurance for their dedication and commitment to making Bethel a safer place to live.

The commendation comes after a recent inspection completed by officials with the NC Department of Insurance Office and the Office of State Fire Marshal.

NC Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey said “I’d like to congratulate Chief Saunders for the department’s performance and for the hard work of all the department members. The citizens should rest easy knowing they have a fine group of firefighters protecting them and their property in case of an emergency.”

As part of the North Carolina Response Rating System (NCRRS), inspections are required on a regular basis and it reviews several areas which include staffing, equipment, maintenance of equipment, communications capabilities, and the availability of a water source.

The results of these inspections help determine homeowner’s insurance rates within that fire district. Effective December 1, 2022, homeowners in the Bethel Fire District will now have a rating of 5 if they are within 5 road miles of the Bethel Fire Station, regardless of the location of fire hydrants.

When speaking of their success, Chief Saunders stated, “A lot of time and dedication by my fireman and the support from the community made our ISO inspection and rating possible. Thanks to all that contributed to this effort. It is a great achievement to go from a rating of 9, to a rating of 5.”

Each year, volunteer firefighters must complete a minimum of 36 training and continuing education hours to remain active. The 22 members of Bethel Fire Department logged 792 hours of training in 2021, which is more than the required amount.

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