The Clay County Board of Supervisors welcomed Starkville native Robert Parker this week as Clay County’s new volunteer fire services coordinator, who will be charged with overseeing each of the county’s seven volunteer fire departments.
Parker served as fire lieutenant at the Starkville Fire Department for 10 years and served as a senior fire instructor at the Mississippi Fire Academy from 1996 until 2008. He also worked as a technical rescuer for six years with the Mississippi Fire Academy State Response Team and was awarded the Mississippi State Medal of Service for his work as a technical rescuer during Hurricane Katrina.
Parker, who also attended Mississippi State University and served 12 years in the Mississippi National Guard, said he’s ready to meet all volunteer fire chiefs and volunteer firemen and begin to help improve the county’s volunteer fire services for the people of Clay County.
“I’m not coming in here to try to disrupt what they’ve been trying to do; I’m going to try to help them move forward in the future with different things, such as grants, looking at the age of the trucks and try to help them with that and just try to help keep the ratings as low as we can,” Parker said. “Keeping the ratings down for their insurance is the biggest goal. I’m here to help these fire chiefs not take over their department; that’s not my job. My job is to be their liaison between the (county) supervisors and them.”
There are three core things, Parker said, that must be done to keep the fire ratings down. One, he said, is to shuttle water, two is the manpower and having a good number of volunteer firemen and three is training and having good training records.
Knowing where the resources are and who to contact for help is two things Parker says is definitely going to help all of Clay County’s volunteer fire departments.
Parker aims to conduct classes for volunteer firemen, such as rope rescue classes and other fire and rescue related classes in the near future.
Parker said anyone who is interested in being a volunteer firemen can contact him at 601-214-7806.