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Norco Area Volunteer Fire Department is an all-hazards response agency providing fire protection, hazardous materials response, emergency medical services, and technical rescue capabilities to the 4th and 11th fire districts of St. Charles Parish. The NAVD recognizes fighting fire as only one of many components necessary to accommodate service area residents.
The NAVD service area includes the towns of Norco and Montz, LA, in addition to eastbound I-10 from the St. John Parish line to Kenner, LA. Mutual aid areas include the 7 remaining St.
Charles Parish fire districts, St. John Parish, and Jefferson Parish. According to the St. Charles Parish Firemen’s Association fall newsletter, volunteers responded to 111 structure fires, 241 EMS assists, 376 vehicular accidents, 357 fire alarms, and 1,324 miscellaneous incidents in 2017 (St. Charles Firemen’s Association, 2018).
Numerous non-firefighting opportunities are available to NAVFD volunteers. These opportunities include safety fairs, community fire prevention education, and emergency medical response. Recruitment literature emphasizes, “fighting fire is not a mandatory requirement” of membership (St. Charles Firemen’s Association, 2018).
Fire Districts No. 4 and 11 retain two paid, part-time firefighters and 33 active status volunteer members. Prospective members must be 18 years of age, reside in either Norco or Montz, possess a valid driver’s license, and consent to a background check. Active members attend fire calls, monthly meetings, and weekly training exercises. Associate members attend general membership meetings, and participate in department-sponsored events but do not respond to medical or fire calls. The NAVFD Auxiliary is another resource available to department family members who want to support active and associate members.
NAVFD encourages members to remain physically fit and self-report pertinent health issues. Active members receive a discount at a locally owned cross-fit gym. Weekly training focuses on fire suppression techniques and education. Active members retain rookie status for two years or until promoted. Members certified as Emergency Medical Responders or Emergency Medical Technicians lead medical calls, while those with Fire Fighter I and II certifications fight fires. Certifications are encouraged but not required for participation in medical or fire calls (Wenning, 2017). Two active NAVFD members maintain IFSAC and Pro Board accredited fire investigator certifications. St. Charles Parish, however, defers to the Louisiana State Fire Marshal’s office for all investigatory needs.
Jefferson Parish is one local fire Department (JPFD) employing fire investigators. JPFD Fire investigators must have five years of fire service or law enforcement experience with two years of dedication to fire cause and origin investigation. Twelve credit hours towards a fire science degree from an accredited university satisfies all experience requirements (Jefferson Parish Civil Service Board).
Louisiana State Fire Marshal Deputies commonly investigate fire cause and origin, oftentimes offering this vital service to local fire departments with limited local resources (State of Louisiana). The minimum requirements for a State Fire Marshal Deputy are three years of experience related to law enforcement, fire investigation, fire service, fire science, code enforcement, or construction. An associate’s degree may substitute one year of experience. An associate’s degree in Fire Science, Criminal Justice, Construction, or Engineering may substitute two years of experience. Certified firefighters, P.O.S.T officers, inspectors, and individuals with bachelor’s degrees are exempt from experience requirements. Fire fighting experience is generally not a condition for employment (State of Louisiana).
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