The town of Calypso recently celebrated the expansion of two new bays to their fire station.
As the Rural American town continues to grow so does their volunteer fire department of 32 people.
Working with USDA Rural Development in North Carolina the town’s leaders secured a $248 thousand loan/grant combination to expand their firehouse.
As the town’s firefighters were working to update their equipment they realized their fire station, in its current state, was not suited to house the most up-to-date equipment.
The 43-year-old building was not tall enough to fit modern age firetrucks and the required gear.
Calypso’s fire department worked for years to accommodate their equipment to the space they have. They would change the light configuration on trucks so they could fit into the firehouse.
The purchase of new firetrucks, like their high-water rescue/brush fire truck, that’s a refitted U.S. Army surplus truck, made this task impossible. With the required tired the truck sits high above the height limit of the old doors.
The time of adaptation was finally over and the time for change was finally upon the firehouse. The town leaders decided it was time to rekindle an old relationship with USDARD.
USDARD and Calypso have a long relationship.
The Farmers Home Administration helped to finance Calypso’s Fire Station in 1979. Then in 2011 the renamed USDA Rural Development helped to expand the building to include administration offices, a kitchen and meeting areas.
“We have a long history of working with USDA,” said Calypso Former Assistant Chief and Treasurer Roger Davis. “Working with Kim Davis we were able to get the ball rolling on getting the expansion going.”
Daniels is the USDA RD Area Specialist who covers the Down East and Crystal Coast parts of North Carolina. She reviews financial data, organizational documents, develops loans and grants based on financial needs of the community applying for assistance.
“We have worked with Calypso VFD on many projects throughout the years,” said Daniels. “This group of volunteers has worked extremely hard to keep their debt low but still provide the needed services to the community. We are very proud of their dedication to the community they serve.”
According to Government Information Website, the median household income of the applying town must be less than 70 percent of the state non-metropolitan median household income.
The expansion of the fire station is assisting the town’s ability to maintain the best insurance rating possible.
According to the North Carolina Department of Insurance Website, fire stations are inspected by the Office of State Fire Marshal. The insurance rating that results from the inspection can affect the homeowners’ and business insurance premiums in the fire district.
Part of this inspection is having the required number of fire trucks for the size of a community.
“We are required to have two pumpers, one tanker, and one crash utility,” said Davis. “A fire truck will last 30 years but the requirements may change as the trucks get older. So, we are having replace our trucks so we can maintain our insurance rating.”
According to Davis, the expansion will greatly assist in the ability to protect Calypso from fire and other natural disasters and maintain a good insurance rating.
As this rural town continues to grow they are hoping to continue to foster relationship with USDA.
“USDA is good to work with”, said Davis. “Their rates and terms can’t be beat. We have a great partnership and were looking forward to continuing it.”