We were pleased to read reports from the county’s volunteer fire departments that outlined the efforts each department is taking to improve the insurance rating within each district.
County commissioners, in agreeing to increase funding for the local departments, are seeking improvements that will lower the cost of property insurance for residents served by the county’s volunteer departments.
That process is not an overnight exercise. Each department has started taking steps to lower their rating, but in some cases, the departments must show as much as three years worth of records to qualify for the lower ratings. Commissioners can be patient with the departments as long as they continue to see efforts being made by the departments.
We don’t know of anyone who doesn’t want the lower insurance ratings. Elected leaders and property owners would certainly like to see those rates go down. Fire departments would too, honestly. Improved ISO ratings mean fire departments are better equipped and trained to respond to emergency calls.
Improving those ISO ratings also calls for the fire departments to prove they can work well with other departments. Several departments have started training together and regular opportunities to work with each other will lead to improved efficiencies for everyone when firefighters are called to the scene of a fire.
Some have pointed out that working well together has not been a forte among Person County’s volunteer fire department. Getting them to work well together on a regular basis will be almost as valuable as an improved ISO rating.
Elected officials and fire department leaders have a model to shape their efforts by in neighboring Caswell County, where all the departments worked together to improve their ratings. Firefighters in Caswell County were intent on achieving that goal and their commitment was evidence that working together works.
The reports presented to county commissioners on Monday are a clear indicator that Person County’s fire departments are intent on meeting the expectations commissioners put before them. If we are patient and firefighters are persistent, we will all come out on the other side with better fire departments and reduced insurance costs.