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Active Event

Recruiting neighborhood volunteers for CERT program

PENDER COUNTY – Pender County will host an informational session about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) on Jan. 14, beginning at 2:30 p.m. at the Hampstead Annex, 15060 US Hwy 17.

“The CERT program educates volunteers about disaster preparedness for the hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations,” said Tom Collins, Pender County Emergency Manager.

“CERT offers a consistent, nationwide approach to volunteer training and organization that professional responders can rely on during disaster situations, which allows them to focus on more complex tasks,” said Walter Makaryk, a CERT leader. “Through CERT, the capabilities to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters is built and enhanced.”

Anyone interested in learning about CERT should attend the Jan. 14 meeting.

“CERT volunteers are extremely important,” said Makaryk. “They are the neighborhood responders who inform emergency services of downed trees and power lines. They check on their neighbors following a disaster. They are the conduit to retrieve assistance for their neighborhood.”

Read about the CERT program at

For more information, watch our Pender County Emergency Management website or Facebook. If you have not signed up for the CodeRed alert system, register for free at or call 910-259-1210 for details.

Maple Hill VFD receives improved ISO rating

BURGAW – This spring residents in the Maple Hill Fire District will find a savings on their home insurance, thanks to the work of the Maple Hill Volunteer Fire Department, the Pender County Fire Marshal, and the NC Department of Insurance.

“Maple Hill VFD has received a North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) Insurance Rating of a 5/9E,” said Tommy Batson, Pender County Fire Marshal. “The fire department along with other fire departments and other agencies were graded on a point scale in September for this final grade.”

Batson said the point system grading system includes 10 percent from Emergency Communications Center. Fire department makes up 50 percent of the points system. Water supply is 40 percent and Community Risk Reduction makes up the last 5.5 percent for a total of 105.5 points.

“The Maple Hill VFD has been a Class 9 and was the minimum rate fire protection class,” Batson said. “The Office of the State Fire Marshal comes in and reviews many different things in the different areas of the grading system. After a few months the final score from a Class 1 being the best to a Class 10 having no fire protection coverage is finalized.”

We’re pleased that homeowners in March 2020 will receive a savings when the new insurance rating will go into effect,” said George Brown, Chairman of the Pender County Board of Commissioners. “The fire insurance premium drop will be for all fire insurance policies that are within the five-mile district of the Maple Hill VFD.”

“Anyone living in the five to six-mile area will continue to receive a class 9 E ratings,” said Batson.

“This will substantially reduce insurance rates for homeowners and commercial businesses in the district. Anywhere from $150 to possibly $250 a year based upon the insurance company,” Lee Kennedy, a rating inspector for the North Carolina State Fire Marshal said.

“It was a combination between our department, Nine Mile, Pin Hook, Haws Run, Pender EMS & Fire, and Burgaw,” said Harold Motley, Maple Hill fire chief. “We did water shuttles, we trained together. We do these things to increase the amount of water we can bring to a fire and of course, the engines and the fire trucks and the manpower.”

Residents with questions regarding the ISO rating should contact their insurance carrier.

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