Better ratings for two departments
In March, the Mississippi State Rating Bureau issued improved fire insurance classifications for two volunteer fire protection districts in Pearl River County.
The Steephollow and Southeast facilities both saw a decrease in their fire rating. Emergency Management Director and Fire Services Coordinator Danny Manley said the lower the rating the better.
According to the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies’ website, some insurance companies use National Board Class ratings, which is a number from 1 to 10 that refers to the public protection facilities in an area. The classes emphasize fire protection and safety control. The lower the number, the better the facility and the protection it provides against fires, the website states.
The public fire protection insurance classification number is used as one of many elements to determine individual property fire insurance rates, a letter from the Mississippi State Rating Bureau states.
Steephollow Chief Barbara Smith said five years ago during the last inspection, the district received a nine, this year they received a classification of eight.
“They come in and look at our equipment, run tests and ensure that we have access to water in the event there is not a hydrant,” Smith said. “They also look at our records and training. We have 28 volunteers here and are very excited. We always strive to provide protection when needed.”
Southeast Chief Mark McCormick’s district received a classification of seven.
The surveys are completed every five years, he said. The last classification McCormick’s district received was an eight.
There are 35 volunteers in the Southeast district, McCormick said.
“They are well-trained and professional staff,” he said. “Most of them are firefighters in other cities and or paramedics.”
McCormick said the addition of a station and C-1 class A pumper helped the district improve their rating.
“For the past 20 years the Center Water Association in Ceasar has been focused on helping us with the installation of hydrants and maintaining water flow,” McCormick said. “They realize the value of upgraded infrastructure. By my estimation, in the past 20 years, homeowners in our district have seen about 45 to 50 percent savings on their premiums with regards to fire insurance ratings.”
According to the South Mississippi Rating Bureau letter, insurance contracts covering homes in this district may endorsed from March 18, 2015, on a pro rate basis in order to take advantage of the current fire premiums.
The insurance rates affect homeowners living within five miles of a volunteer fire station in their district, Smith said.
“These districts are highly supported by our county and risk their lives to save people,” Manley said. “I’m proud of them and this is a great thing. The guys work hard and do a phenomenally great job.”
The Steephollow district serves the Steephollow and Progress communities, Manley said. The Southeast district serves the Ceasar and Salem communities.
For a map of fire districts visit the county’s website at www.pearlrivercounty.net/fire/.
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