The past few years have been a positive turnaround for a department that had previously been hit hard by economic change and the effects of slowing growth in the Eagle Springs area. In the past, rural non-municipal fire departments in Moore County were funded by the amount of taxes brought in based on the tax rate in the district they serve.
According to Chief Michael St. Onge, the new flat tax funding formula has opened many doors for departments that were previously not able to provide the level of service needed by its citizen taxpayers. Since the implementation of several new programs, such as the new flat tax and the Moore County Fire Commission, Eagle Springs Fire Department has managed to replace old equipment and supply its members with safer, more reliable equipment to get the job done.
“This ultimately keeps the firefighters safe and, in turn, keeps the citizens safe,” said Chief Michael St. Onge, who became chief over the department three years ago.
“We have received over $140,000 in grant money in the past three years, which has provided our members with personal protective equipment, all new air packs, new pagers, and several other items of importance needed to get the job done,” explained Chief St. Onge. “The grant money and increased budget allow us to make big strides towards making sure our members are safe with the most advance equipment.”
Eagle Springs also recently underwent an insurance inspection through the North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey’s office. The inspection is required on a regular basis as part of the North Carolina Response Rating System (NCRRS). The routine inspections look for proper staffing levels, sufficient equipment, proper maintenance of equipment, communications capabilities and availability of various water sources.
“This is a pretty extensive inspection that we have prepared for in the last two and a half years,” explained Chief St.Onge. “A lot goes into an inspection that all members have to participate in and help to make a positive rating happen.”
Eagle Springs Fire Department received an excellent score on the inspection, increasing their score from what was previously an eight to a five. Chief St.Onge explained that a lower number rating does suggest that a department is better equipped to respond to fires in its district.
“I’d like to congratulate Chief St. Onge for the department’s performance and for the hard work of all the department members,” said Commissioner Causey. “The citizens in Eagle Springs Fire district should rest easy knowing they have a fine group of firefighters protecting them and their property in case of an emergency.”
In addition, lower ratings can also significantly lower home owner’s insurance rates in that fire district, as is the case with Eagle Springs Fire Department. According to Chief St.Onge, the new grade will take effect on June 1, 2019,
“We could not have received such a good grade without the support of our members and surrounding departments working together to get the job done. We have a fine group of officers, firefighters, and support staff to aid in the level of service we know provide,” concluded Chief St.Onge.
To contact Eagle Springs Fire Department, call (910) 673-5673 or like the official page, “Eagle Springs Fire Department” on Facebook.