Forced changes to how local fire protection services were offered have been averted thanks to a last-minute deal.

President of the Scotland County Rural Fire Corporation board, Freddie Henderson reported the rural fire department was able to secure insurance coverage effective June 1st.

Initially the group had feared it would lose its liability insurance coverage for its equipment and personnel, after the original provider announced earlier this spring that it would not renew the coverage.

Discussions began last month with the City of Memphis, which maintains the Memphis Fire Department and shares the fire station and equipment with the rural department, about the possibility of an official merger.

The immediate need for such a transition was avoided by the news that insurance coverage was secured through Missouri Rural Services.

“It came at a substantially higher price than our previous policies, but were able to secure coverage for the new fiscal year, giving us more time to consider our future options,” said Henderson.

The board president noted that discussions have been had regarding the potential creation of a fire district. Henderson noted that requirements for a tax-based district have changed over the years, making the possibility of such a transition more attractive than in previous years when it was considered.

“It’s definitely not something we are prepared to do right now today,” said Henderson. “But, we are working to learn more about the options to prepare for future discussions about the direction local fire protection will be heading.”