HIGH CLASS: Troy fire safety rating improves

Published 4:00 am Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Troy is now one of the 50 most fire-safe cities in Alabama according to a new classification issued by the Insurance Service Office Monday.

In 2015, the Troy Fire Department received a Class 3 classification from the organization, which analyzes fire protection in communities across the country to determine for insurance providers the level of fire safety provided in those communities. At the time, it was the best ranking the fire department had ever achieved.

Monday, the ISO upgraded the city to a Class 2 – the second-best possible rating.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Chief Michael Stephens said only 1,324 communities across the nation have that distinction, out of over 43,000 analyzed.

The most recent numbers released from the ISO show that only 45 communities in Alabama have a comparable rating.

“I think it’s certainly a reflection on the city council and the community’s commitment to enhancing our fire protection,” said Mayor Jason Reeves. “The fact that we have gone to three fire stations and expanded our force certainly had an impact on that. We’re just glad to see this happen. This is one thing that will help our consumers of homeowner’s insurance and our businesses.”

Stephens said the organization analyzes everything about fire prevention and protection when determining the level of safety provided by a city from fire.

“We’re graded on fire prevention and pre-fire planning,” Stephens said. “A large part of that is getting fire prevention out to the public. We’ve worked on getting out free smoke detectors for our fire district – all that goes toward helping lower that fire rating.”

Stephens said the addition of a third fire station, located off of Elba Highway, in 2017 was a big step toward lowering the rating.

“Adding that third station has really helped spread out response times citywide, plus the additional manpower,” Stephens said. “Right now we’re responding with three engines and one ladder to every structure-related call – before that we were responding with two engines and one ladder.”

It isn’t just the fire department that is looked at to determine the rating – the city’s water lines and other factors that could come into play outside of the fire department are also considered.

The grade given is more than just an analysis to show citizens how safe their community is from fire though, it’s a signal to insurance providers about the likelihood of fire damage in the community.

“The lower your protection class, the lower the premium for homeowner’s insurance, insurance on buildings, inventory in buildings, the contents in building – this is certainly a plus for our city,” said John Witherington of Witherington Insurance Group. “I’m very happy about that and I’m sure it will have a very positive impact on our community.”

Stephens said the new classification will go into effect on October 1, at which point insurance providers will begin calculating it into insurance rates.

The full report has net yet been given to the city, Stephens said, but when he does get it, he will begin looking at where improvements can be made to chase the Class 1 rating.