The Bay St. Louis Fire Department is comprised of two main divisions - “combat” and administration - that work as one to provide the best emergency care possible to our community. Fire Station #1 is located at 543 Main Street; Fire Station #2 is located at 9998 Hwy 603 between the Hancock County Food Pantry and Road 556.
Bay St. Louis’ fire class rating (the rating that helps determine your fire insurance costs) is a “Class 5”. The MSRB periodically inspects the Department and assigns a “class” rating based on their findings. Some of the items that are inspected include our water system, firefighter training, code enforcement, operating policies, all department documents and records as well as the repair, maintenance and testing of equipment. For more information visit the MSRB website at: www.msratingbureau.com
Firefighters - The Combat Division of the Department: This division consists of 21 full-time firefighters that are divided between three shifts (or “tours”) of duty at two stations, providing fire and emergency medical response “24/7/365”. In addition to conducting inspections, service testing equipment, participating in community events and teaching fire prevention, first aid and CPR classes our firefighters respond to 1,300 emergency calls each year. All of our firefighters and administrative personnel are certified to state and national standards; several are also Nationally Registered EMT’s or Paramedics.
Firefighters are on duty at both stations 24-hours a day - nights, weekends and holidays. The fire department responds to calls for fires and EMS emergencies within the city limits of Bay St. Louis and to neighboring departments who request additional manpower or equipment. Likewise, we depend on neighboring departments to provide this same “mutual aid” when requested by our department.
Firefighter Qualifications and Training Requirements:
Mississippi state law requires all career firefighters to be certified by the Mississippi Minimum Standards Certification Board within one year of hire. After successful completion of the fire academy entrance exam (the Candidate Physical Agility Test) and the six-week basic firefighter training course at the Mississippi State Fire Academy, new recruits are certified as firefighters by the state of Mississippi as well as the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. Firefighters who hold an IFSAC certification from another state may apply to the Mississippi Minimum Standards Board for certification as a Mississippi firefighter. After completion of the basic fire academy course, firefighters continue training throughout their career in a wide variety of areas, including Hazardous Materials, High Angle Rescue, Emergency Vehicle Driving, Pumper Operations, Officer Training, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Fire Prevention Education and Vehicle Extrication, as well as emergency medical training such as Medical First Responder and Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Fire Chief, Office Manager and Chief Officers - The Administrative Division of the Department: The department’s administration manages all aspects of the department’s operations - training, purchasing, maintenance and repair of all vehicles, facilities and equipment; community events; personnel management, scheduling and payroll; code enforcement, disaster planning, construction plan reviews; budget planning and management - as well as managing and operating the city’s emergency alert systems and social media (such as Facebook) to provide the public with safety information or emergency notifications.
Homeowner and Commercial Fire Insurance: The administration works diligently to ensure that the Department meets all requirements of the Mississippi State Rating Bureau; the MSRB is an incorporated fire insurance rating and engineering organization that establishes advisory rates which play a part in determining the cost of your fire insurance. You can learn more about how your fire department is “graded” by visiting the MSRB website at: www.msratingbureau.com/Municipal_Grading.htm
Fire Codes: The City of Bay Saint Louis has adopted the International Code Council 2006 Fire Codes. These codes are designed to identify and protect the public from conditions or activities that pose fire or safety hazards and other threats to the public safety and welfare. These codes are based largely on lessons learned from tragic fires and lives lost due to hazardous conditions or activities - many of which could have been prevented if fire and safety practices had been identified or enforced. All members of the fire department are responsible for identifying hazards and enforcing the codes; the fire chief is “the authority having jurisdiction” (or “AHJ”) over all matters pertaining to fire hazards, life and safety hazards and other conditions that adversely affect the public safety. The primary goal of the fire department is to prevent the loss of life or property and protect the public from conditions or situations that threaten the safety of the community.
Services Offered by the Bay St. Louis Fire Department:
- Complimentary Fire Safety Inspections: We encourage residents and business owners to contact us for advice on ways to improve fire safety in the home or workplace. We can schedule a fire department representative to come to your home or business to inspect for fire or safety hazards and help you develop an emergency plan.
- Fire inspections and Pre-planning: Conducting annual fire inspections and emergency pre-plans is our way of getting to know a place of business so we will be better informed if an emergency occurs there. Pre-plans are an opportunity for our firefighters to plan ahead for an emergency by learning the layout of the building, making a sketch of the structure showing where the nearest fire hydrant is, where the utility shut-off is, what types of materials are stored there and so on. The main purpose of the fire inspection is to make sure that the business is safe from fire or safety hazards to better protect the owner, employees and the public - and we are responsible for enforcing fire and safety codes adopted by the city council. Sometimes business owners get ‘stressed’ about a fire inspection, but really they shouldn’t! We’re just there to identify potential hazards or an unsafe practice and work with the owner to resolve these issues (usually they’re pretty minor and easy to fix). It’s all about preventing tragic accidents or fires and keeping everyone safe!
- Tours of the Fire Station: Contact us to set up a tour for your daycare, scout group, or other organization - or stop in one day with your children or grandchildren. You’ll enjoy a tour of our station and fire trucks as much as the kids - “kids” of all ages have a blast wearing a firefighter’s gear, exploring the fire truck and the equipment, and squirting some water from a fire hose. We invite everyone to spend a little time with us to meet the men and women of your fire department.
- Burning permits: The department may issue burning permits for small piles of yard trimmings. A burning permit may be issued for larger piles or areas of land, but a supervisor must inspect the area prior to issuing the permit. There is no permit fee, but you must be at least 18 years of age to obtain one - please present your driver’s license or other photo identification.
- Bonfire permits: Bonfire permits require a $100 refundable clean-up deposit, by check only, made out to the City of Bay St. Louis. We do not accept cash. There are specific areas of the beach where bonfires are allowed (generally between Washington St. and Bay Oaks - check with our office for details), and you must be at least 18 years of age and present some form of photo identification when obtaining this permit. The person obtaining the permit must be on site with a copy of the permit during the times stated on the permit. The deposit is refunded after the bonfire site has been inspected to ensure it has been cleared of any debris, trash or wood. No deposit is required if the bonfire is on private property, but a permit is still needed.
- Fireworks - Sales and Use: By city ordinance the sale and use of fireworks are allowed only during the holiday periods of July 4th, Christmas and New Year’s. Before the Building Department will issue a permit to allow the sale of fireworks, the building and fire departments must conduct an inspection to ensure all fire and safety requirements are met. *A special permit is required for any commercial pyrotechnic display.
*PLEASE NOTE: ANY BURNING - BONFIRES, YARD TRIMMINGS OR THE USE OF FIREWORKS - MAY BE BANNED, AND ANY BURNING OR FIREWORKS PERMIT PREVIOUSLY ISSUED MAY BE REVOKED IF:
• Weather conditions are (or become) unfavorable for burning (strong winds, dry conditions, etc.).
• A ban on all burning is issued by the fire chief, or the state or county fire marshal.
• Instructions on the permit or instructions given by the fire official are not followed.
• The fire official determines a situation or activity is hazardous or a public nuisance.
Emergency - Dial 9-1-1