The Insurance Services Office (ISO) is upgrading the DeKalb County Fire Department's service area rating from a Class 9 to a Class 6, effective November 1 which is expected to result in lower homeowners insurance premiums for many families across the county.
County Fire Chief Donny Green made the announcement Sunday afternoon during a meeting of county volunteer firefighters at the department's main station on King Ridge Road. County Mayor Mike Foster was also present for the announcement.
Chief Green issued the following prepared statement for the local news media:
The fire-protection services of DeKalb County Fire Department's entire service area, as evaluated and rated by Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), has improved from Class 9 to Class 6. In 2009, the department improved the rating for residents of the cities of Liberty and Dowelltown. In March 2011, the department underwent another intensive and comprehensive ISO survey to collect and evaluate the fire protection capabilities of the remainder of the county. On Friday, August 5 the department was officially notified of the rating improvement.
Effective November 1, 2011 all areas serviced by the DeKalb County Fire Department will be classified as an ISO Class 6 protection area. If your property is within 5 road miles of one of the department's eleven fire stations and a fire hydrant or credited alternative water source is located within 1,000 feet of your property, you will receive a Class 6 Protection Rating. This improvement will save residents in these areas an estimated $200 annually on their homeowner's insurance premiums. This rating does not affect the current ratings for residents in the cities of Smithville and Alexandria.
DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster said "I am tremendously proud of the level of fire protection and efficiency provided by our fire department, water system, and 911 Center. The fire department, as evident by this evaluation, has made significant strides in improving fire protection in DeKalb County's communities. The financial impact of this new rating is very important, but just as important is the fact that our communities should enjoy the reassurance that the DeKalb County Fire Department is providing a level of service, using an all-volunteer staff, that many communities would love to have. Residents and property owners of DeKalb County should know that their dollars are spent very efficiently. The hard work put forth by our fire department has resulted in this improved rating that positively affects everyone, especially those living on fixed income." In 2009, Mayor Foster commended the fire department for improving the ISO rating for the cities of Dowelltown and Liberty and stated that " our ultimate goal is to improve our fire protection ratings countywide." With this recent announcement, that goal has been achieved.
DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green pointed out that this rating improvement was no small task. "I want to personally recognize our department's officers and members who made enormous time sacrifices to make this happen. In addition, it took support and assistance from the water utility districts that serve DeKalb County, the DeKalb County 911 Emergency Communications District, Mayor Mike Foster, and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. Our ability to improve our PPC classification was positively influenced by our increase in training activities, updated equipment, the DeKalb County 911 Emergency Communication District's efficiency in receiving and handling fire alarms, and the ability of our water systems to deliver sufficient water flows. DeKalb County will become one of only 205 fire departments in Tennessee to achieve a Class 6 rating according to the latest information from ISO. Of the 1,011 fire departments in Tennessee, the majority, 311 are ranked as Class 9 fire departments according to ISO. This is a huge step," said Chief Green.
ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. In each of those communities, ISO analyzes the relevant data using its Fire Suppression Rating Schedule. The company then assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't meet ISO's minimum criteria.
ISO will advise its subscribing insurers of this classification change, The rating becomes effective November 1, 2011. DeKalb County homeowners should check with their insurance companies after that date to make sure these savings are applied.