(WTVM) - If you live in the Loachapoka, Ala. area, we have good news for the safety of your home, and your bank accounts.
The Southwest Volunteer Fire Department has made a significant jump in their Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating, which in turn saves you money.
Chief Jeremy Jones says, "Most insurance companies go to this to try to figure out rates as far as fire protection, and it's on a scale from one to ten, and each department is given a specific grade ad then the insurance company can go through them to determine the insurance rates for the citizens."
A Fire Class 1 rating is the best, and a Fire Class 10 rating is the worst. If you fall near the end of the scale, you essentially have no fire protection.
Southwest has jumped from a Fire Class 7 rating to a Fire Class 4, and Jones says that's mainly thanks to the citizens after they agreed to increase their yearly fire fee.
"A that point we were able to buy new equipment, update some of our older equipment, therefore getting our rating to go up," explains Jones.
The Southwest Volunteer Fire Department covers a 57 mile territory in the Loachapoka community, and last year received over 420 calls.
Increasing the fire fee from $25 to $50 per year enabled them to buy 12 new sets of turnout gear, and maintain their 25 active members.
Only 40 cities in the U.S. have a Fire Class 1 rating. Next year, Southwest hopes to make it closer to that goal.
"It feels pretty good to feel that the work that we're putting in each day is going to turn around and affect the community in a positive way," explains Jones.
Residents are encouraged to contact their homeowner's insurance company to determine if the new ISO rating will have a positive effect on their ratings.