HOLT, Fla., April 21, 2021—Holt Fire District is rolling out in a new fire engine to east-side fire responses thanks to North Okaloosa Fire District.
While not a brand new truck, Engine 33 is new to Holt FD and was donated by North Okaloosa in March.
The 2013 Class A pumper has a 1,000-gallon water tank and a 1,250-gallon pump. It was purchased by North Okaloosa from a used fire truck dealer about six years ago, but was rarely put into service, said North Okaloosa Fire Chief Dennis McMaster.
“Assets need to be utilized to be effective and efficient among all residents,” said Craig Shaw, North Okaloosa Fire District commissioner.
With a full house at Holt’s station, the Fire District is renting one of the two bays in North Okaloosa’s Milligan station for one dollar a year for 10 years to house Engine 33.
“This gives us a secure place to keep a third engine for Holt,” said Holt Fire Chief Scott Chestnut.
Housing the engine in Milligan also provides better fire coverage for residents east of Holt.
“Several members (firefighters) live east of the district,” Chestnut said. “This helps cover the east side of Holt.”
Holt firefighters who live east of Holt or in Crestview now respond to fire service calls using Engine 33.
Members living east of the district can get to the Milligan station faster, pick up the truck and roll out on a fire response, providing quicker response, said Chestnut.
Along with the new engine and storage in the Milligan station, Holt Fire District signed a mutual aid agreement with North Okaloosa FD to help respond to fires in the west side of its district when needed using Engine 33.
“This will be great for both districts,” said Shaw. Chestnut concurred.
This agreement will provide fire coverage overlap for both the Holt and Milligan areas, decreasing response times for both communities, he said.
“We have similar agreements with Almarante and Baker,” said McMaster. “And we just transferred some equipment to Dorcas.”
Baker Fire District will rent the other Milligan bay and store a truck to assist with fire responses as well.
“Our goal is to reach out to as many fire districts that join our boundary to increase cooperation and help,” said Shaw.
Related: “Holt Fire improves service classification”
Additionally, the increased coverage will improve the districts’ Insurance Service Office—or ISO—rating, the classification insurance companies use when assessing home or business insurance premiums.
Small volunteer fire districts working together mean better coverage for everyone involved, said Holt Fire District Commissioner Jim Connors.
“It’s the nature of small units working together,” he said. “This agreement improves the teamwork between us and North Okaloosa Fire District.”