Natchitoches Parish Fire District 6 Chief Michael Sesvold and Firefighter Derek Boyt spoke to the Natchitoches Lions Club at its meeting Aug. 13.
“Firefighting is a passion for every one of us,” said Boyt, whose wife Erin was present. She is a volunteer on the District 6 Support Staff.
Fire District 6 is known as a “combination department.” It consists of six full-time and four part-time firefighters, plus the fire chief. There are also over 25 active volunteer members.
Fire District 6 was established in 1982. It covers 90 square miles in a radius around the outside of the City limits of Natchitoches. Sesvold said their call volume has increased over last three years, as they currently serve over 10,000 residents.
“We always ask ourselves if we’re offering the best service we can for our tax payers,” he said. “Our goal is to move this department forward.” Sesvold has been fire chief for two years, but he’s served as a member of the fire district for 14 years.
Funding for the district comes from $25 parcel fees and a 10 mill property tax, which generates about $600,000 annually. About 55% goes to salaries and benefits. The district is governed by a 7-member board of volunteers appointed by the Parish Council for two year terms.
Each fire district in the Parish is rated every 5 years by the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana (PIAL). The rating each district receives directly affects the insurance rates for homeowners. A “1” is best and a “10” is the worst. Currently Fire District 6 has a “4” rating. The City itself holds a “3” rating. Fire District 6’s goal is to raise their rating to a “3.”