SUNNY HILLS, Fla. (WMBB)–Every few years, local fire departments receive evaluations by the Insurance Services Office. The evaluations rate how well they’re able to do their job.
In terms of fire protection, a rating of 10 is the worst and a 1 is the best.
“We actually had 4 stations drop from a 7 to a 5 which I was very proud,” said Rick Kerr, Washington County Fire Service Coordinator.
Chipley, Wausau, Vernon, and Sunny Hills all made improvements. Kerr says the ISO takes many factors into consideration including their performance, communication, and water supply.
“We’ve worked harder on getting our testing better, our paperwork more in line, all of our equipment been tested, and up to date,” said Washington County Fire Chief Al Gothard.
The lower ratings also help residents lock in lower homeowner’s insurance rates. Chief Gothard says it wouldn’t be possible without their volunteers.
“Oh it makes you proud of your guys and how hard they work to drop these numbers and get everything ready,” Chief Gothard said.
The county also received a S.A.F.E.R. Grant through FEMA back in 2015, allowing them to hire paid firefighters and improve their response time. They say this contributed to the improved scores.
“So we have actual paid firemen respond as to where volunteers don’t have to take off from work to come to the calls,” Kerr said.
New fire hydrants were also recently installed in Sunny Hills, impacting their rating.
The new scores go into effect April 1st.