North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey recently announced that the Dobson Fire Department completed its routine inspection and received a 5 rating as a result.
He offered praise to the leadership of the Dobson Fire Department in December for the departments improved fire safety rating. ““I commend you and your department for your dedication and commitment to making your community a safer place to live.”
“I know you are proud of your department’s achievement and would like to share the news with the members of your community,” Causey wrote. “I also know that the majority of citizens may not be aware that the rating of their responding fire department directly impacts their property calculations.”
The inspection, conducted by officials with the Department of Insurance Office of the State Fire Marshal, is required on a regular basis as part of the North Carolina Response Rating System.
“I would like to congratulate Chief Whitaker on maintaining his class 5 inspection rating for the Town of Dobson, this took a lot of hard work for Chief Whitaker and the department members,” County Fire Marshal Jimmy Ashburn said about the accomplishment.
He explained the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal scores fire departments on a scale of Class 1 to Class 10, with Class 1 being the best rating awarded. The inspections take place typically every five years, he said.
Ashburn advised the ratings process considers fire station deployment within the fire district, fire department equipment, apparatus, firefighter training/certification and water supply/delivery capabilities.
“Fire districts improved their rating with Insurance Services Office Inc. (ISO), which collects statistical data that insurance companies use to determine premiums for businesses, industries and residents living within fire department districts,” Ashburn said.
“In addition to scoring the fire department, records and data from two county departments (Fire Marshal’s Office and Emergency Communications) are also analyzed during the ratings inspections,” he added. “Data is collected from 911 communications, fire prevention education, fire code enforcement, and fire investigations.”
During the routine inspection, the state is looking for proper staffing levels, sufficient equipment, proper maintenance of equipment, communications capabilities, and availability of a water source. Many of these items the department has direct control over which is why there exists a regular schedule for equipment inspection and maintenance.
A lack of water is not something the department can plan on. So equipment is the name of the game and having a pump and tanker truck available is what helps the Dobson department in this area.
The county commissioners heard a plan to stage extra pump trucks in the quadrants of the county that would add the additional pumper truck coverage to each department found within those spheres of service. Adding that coverage helps the fire rating for the whole fire district, which influences what homeowners pay for their homeowner’s insurance.
“The citizens in these fire districts should rest easy knowing that have a fine group of firefighters protecting them and their property in case of an emergency,” Causey said.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal said, “A community’s investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses. Insurance companies use this information to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance — generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection… Offering economic benefits for communities that invest in their firefighting services provides an additional incentive for improving and maintaining public fire protection.”
North Carolina law requires Office of the State Fire Marshal officials to inspect departments serving districts of 100,000 people or less, which makes up all by twelve of the state’s fire districts.
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