We spend an awful lot of time right in town with stories, but as I have said a million times, Muskegon to me is from about Fruitport to Montague...it's our area. So, I was happy to get an invite up to the Dalton Fire Department to learn a little about their staff and some things coming up in that neck of the woods.
First off, I got a peek at something you'll see in a couple of weeks. It's not quite ready for the big unveiling yet, but right up there in little old Dalton, they have an incredible training apparatus that is already being talked about statewide to be used or duplicated for other fire departments to train their staff on. Imagine that? They are coming from all over Michigan to train in Dalton! More on that in a couple of weeks.
As we sat down today, it was more about a millage vote coming up. Ya, a millage vote. Dalton needs a new fire truck as their current one is about to turn 20. Its in perfectly good shape, but here's the rub. There's this thing called an "ISO" rating. I don't know a whole lot about them but, in order to maintain insurance rates on peoples homes the ISO rating has to be a certain score and part of that is how current the equipment of the local municipalities is. In a nut shell, Dalton is asking it's residents for about $37 bucks a year for the new truck as opposed to a little more than double that in increased insurance costs should their ISO rating change. About as simple as I can put it.
I had a chance to sit down with Fire Chief Al Styles and Dalton Township Supervisor Tony Barnes to discuss this millage request and learn a little more about the Dalton FD. It's truly a remarkable team of dedicated people, most of which not only balance the rigors of being on the fire department, but also keep full time jobs in other fields too. It's a fire department as modern as any other, but it's also got a very small town home grown feel to it and yes, every fantasy you ever had about being a fireman as a kid comes bursting back into mind. Take a listen to our chat below.
Like we said in the video, not asking you to vote one way or another, but the need is real, and the cost is pretty low to maintain the effectiveness that the Dalton Fire Department prides themselves on so very much. We all tend to focus on what goes on right in Muskegon, I know I am one of them, but our county is vast and the Dalton area sees an awful lot of activity year round and is home to a lot of our residents. The thing I took away from Al and Tony was they are out to save their residents a few bucks and make sure the essential equipment is on hand. Thanks to Al and Tony for the visit and check back in a couple weeks when we show you that new piece of training gear. It's pretty awesome to have right here in Muskegon.