Thursday, January 4, 2007
Cayce Fire Department seeks to improve rating
By SUE WATSON
Cayce Volunteer Fire Department is in the process of seeking to improve its rating with the Mississippi State Insurance Rating Bureau, according to assistant fire chief Harry Willis.
A preliminary inspection by the bureau indicates Cayce may go from a class 10 to a class 9 grading which could mean a 30 to 40 percent savings for homeowners on their annual insurance premiums.
Willis said verbal comments from the bureau’s inspectors suggest Cayce could go to a grade 9 and possibly could be good enough to get an 8 grading in the future.
“We are in the process of going to the board of supervisors to ask to become a legally graded fire district,” said Willis.
Fire departments are graded from 1 (the best) to 10, according to Kenny Holbrook, chief of the Holly Springs Fire Department. Currently, Byhalia and Potts Camp fire departments hold a grade 8 while the City of Holly Springs is graded a 6, he said. The rest of the fire departments in the county are graded 10.
The best graded fire district in the state is Jackson which holds a 3, according to Holbrook. There are less than 20 class fives in Mississippi. Holly Springs is in the top 40 or 50 fire departments in cities its size in terms of grading, he said.
“We’ve got the same insurance rating as Southaven and Olive Branch, right now,” Holbrook said.
Holbrook said improving the fire grading of a fire department can boost residential and commercial growth in an area.
Going from a 10 to a 9 or from a 9 to an 8 produces the greatest relief in terms of annual insurance premium reduction, Holbrook said.
Willis said if Cayce gets the grade change, it will seek to become a graded fire district which will lower insurance rates for homeowners and businesses within a five mile radius of the fire station.
Holbrook said a fire department has to prove it can flow a given quantity of water, uninterrupted, for a given amount of time in order to get a grade improvement.
A class 9 has to prove it can flow 250 gallons per minute for an hour, he said. A class 8 has to double that flow rate for an hour.
“For places where there are no fire hydrants, that’s quite a bit of water to shuttle and you must have a large water supply,” Holbrook said.
The greatest savings in insurance premiums comes with a drop from a class 10 to a class nine or from a class 9 to a class 8, Holbrook said. After that each grade improvement translates to less in savings on insurance premiums, he said.
“It’s a tremendous amount of work to even drop one class,” said Holbrook. “Once you get below an 8, there are lots of other things you have to do.”
He applauded Cayce Fire Department administrators for their undertaking.
“We’re encouraging the fire departments - we’re behind them all the way to get fire grading down,” he said. “We encourage them to pursue the fire grading district. We wish them well.”
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