Andy’s ISO rating improves

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 3, 2014

The results of inspections of local fire departments by Insurance Services Office (ISO) are slowly trickling back into the county, and Friday two more departments received good news concerning their ratings.

Andalusia Fire Department and Rose Hill Volunteer Fire Department each received a lower ranking, a positive move, than their last ratings. Andalusia moved from a 5 to a 4, while Rose Hill dropped from a 7 to a 5.

ISO monitors fire departments’ abilities to respond to emergencies, as well as infrastructure, water departments and many other agencies that factor into an area’s overall safety. ISO then rates the overall safety of an area on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the safest and 10 the most unsafe. The lower the ranking, often times the lower insurance premiums are for local businesses and homeowners.

Andalusia Mayor Earl Johnson said Fire Chief Ethan Dorsey and the whole department deserve a big pat on the back for their efforts to improve their ranking.

“I have said many times that our people are our greatest asset and Chief Dorsey and his team have just made that point again,” Johnson said. “Our fire department works every day to improve, to be better and the result is lower insurance rates for our citizens.”

Johnson also praised city and utility department leaders for being proactive in their efforts to improve safety.

“The city council and utilities board are to be commended for having the foresight to invest in improving and maintaining infrastructure, equipment, employee development and training that when combined over a period of years, translates into savings for our citizens.”

Johnson said the Utilities Board’s investment in a new well and improvements and expansions to the water delivery system played a major role in the improved ranking.

“Without their leadership, this ISO improvement would not have been achieved,” he said.

Rose Hill Fire Chief J.F. Jones also touted the work done by his fire department to reach a lower ranking.

“We are extremely proud of our fire department being able to lower our ISO score, in turn lowering the insurance rates for the citizens of our community,” Jones said. “I would like to personally thank all the firefighters who have worked hard to achieve this goal. They are committed to helping their fellow neighbors in times of need. Their hard work and dedication is worth it.”

Officials with ISO did not have a complete list of rankings from Covington County as of Friday afternoon. Earlier in the week, Gantt Volunteer Fire Department became the first in the county to receive its ranking, a 5 down from their previous score of 7.