The Voca Volunteer Fire Department has acquired a flatbed military-style six-by-six truck free of charge courtesy of the Texas Forest Service and the Federal Excess Personal Property Equipment Program. The heavy duty, 2-1/2 ton tandem axle truck will be modified and custom-fitted with equipment to fight brush fires. Trucks similar to the one received by the Voca VFD are already in use throughout the county in departments such as Lohn, Placid and Melvin. Their value comes in their ability to fight grass fires in rough terrain that would be unreachable in normal fire fighting apparatus. What modifications will actually be done to the Voca truck are being discussed by a committee that will research and act according to what will be best for the department. According to Barry Deans of the Voca VFD, the Voca community also recently received word that they are now rated by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) organization. This ISO rating is a direct result of the improvements made in the community’s firefighting capability over the past several years. The rating is the first time the residents of Voca have been rated by the ISO and it will have the potential to positively affect the insurance rates of residents within five road miles of the station. According to the Texas Forest Service, additional free equipment is available to rural fire departments through the Industrial Helping Hands program, through which companies and organizations donate used fire equipment for use by volunteer fire departments. Volunteer fire departments also are given the opportunity to participate in other money-saving programs offered by the TFS. A self-insurance vehicle liability insurance pool offers liability coverage for $250 per vehicle, excluding ambulances. Fire departments can also purchase firefighter clothing, hand tools and water handling accessories at discount prices through the Fire Safe program. TFS regional fire coordinators located across the state now provide local training in wildland firefighting techniques and assist fire departments with applications for equipment and financial assistance.