Cameron Parish Fire District 10 has hired six firefighters and officials say that will improve response to fire calls in Johnson Bayou and Holly Beach and lower fire insurance premiums.

District secretary Rhonda Morrison said the new hires will take part in a six-month certification program in Lake Charles starting Aug. 1.

Once they are certified, Morrison says staffing will be raised at stations in Johnson Bayou and Holly Beach.

The district now has a Property Insurance Association of Louisiana fire rating of Class 6, Morrison says. Fire districts are graded on a scale of 1-10, with one being the best and 10 the worst.

Morrison said the district hopes to lower its rating to a Class 3 or 4 once the firefighters are certified. She said the district has largely relied on volunteers to fight fires. There are about 20 volunteers on the district’s roster.

“Our volunteer response is very low because everyone has full-time jobs,” Morrison said. “It takes so many volunteers to make one certified firefighter.”

The district starts at the Texas state line and stretches east to the Cameron ferry and north to the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge.

Morrison said response can be an issue when only one of the two fire stations is staffed. The Johnson Bayou and Holly Beach stations are “more than seven miles apart,” Morrison said.