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County comes close to lowering ISO rating

The results are in from a recent Insurance Services Office (ISO) survey of the Grady County Volunteer Fire Department and the current fire rating class of 6/9 was maintained, Grady County commissioners were told Tuesday.
Intern Shelley Kines and Grady County Administrator Carlos Tobar briefed commissioners on the survey results during the first board meeting of the new year.
In fact, according to Kines and Tobar, the county was very close to obtaining a class 5/9 because of the additional dry hydrants and other firefighting equipment that has been put in place since the last review.
Miss Kines said the failure of some of the volunteer fire stations to keep detailed records and to conduct training in part prevented the county from obtaining the lower rating, which results in lower fire insurance premiums for local property owners.
A technology improvement project being pushed by Tobar which will include a Voice Over Internet Protocol telephone system could help the county obtain the class 5/9 rating, according to the county administrator.
County Commissioner Charles Norton questioned how many local residents have been affected by the change of ISO to rate homes within five miles of a fire station, as opposed to a five mile radius of a fire station.
“Some people saw their insurance go up because of that change, and how do we address that?” Norton asked.
The county administrator said he could not answer that question without additional research.
Commission Chairman T.D. David also asked how much could local property owners possibly save if the county received the class 5/9 rating. Tobar said that would be difficult to estimate since all insurance companies do not charge the same rates based on ISO surveys.
Tobar invited Chairman David and Vice Chairman LaFaye Copeland to attend an upcoming fire chiefs’ meeting on Jan. 28 when the ISO survey results will be presented and discussed with the chiefs of the 10 VFD stations in the county.
“We need to stay on top of this and get the insurance rates down as low as we possibly can for all of our people,” Vice Chairman Copeland said.
ISO determines a community’s fire suppression rating based on a survey of how well the fire department receives and dispatches firefighting resources (10 percent); overall grading of the firefighting equipment and amount of water available to fight a fire (50 percent); and a grading based on the community’s water supply, which includes dry hydrants such as those used in rural Grady County (40 percent).

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