Murphy Fire Department New Rating:
Class 4 Town District / Class 5 Rural District
Murphy Volunteer Fire Department recently underwent an insurance rating inspection conducted by the North Carolina Department of Insurance, Office of State Fire Marshal. Fire Departments are required on a regular basis to undergo these inspections as part of the North Carolina Rating Response System (NCRRS). Among other things, these routine inspections look for proper staffing levels, sufficient equipment, and maintenance of equipment, communication capabilities and availability of water sources.
The NCRRS ranges from Protection Class (PC) 1 to Protection Class 10 (not recognized as a certified fire department by the state). Lower ratings can significantly lower residential insurance rates in fire districts with lower ratings according to NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin.
The Town of Murphy currently is a PC 6 and the Murphy Rural Fire District is currently a PC 6/9. The split protection class in the Murphy Rural District is due to limited municipal water, properties located within a 1000’ of a fire hydrant currently receive the same PC Class as the Town of Murphy.
Effective March 1, 2013, The Town of Murphy will receive a reduced insurance rating to a PC 4. In addition, thanks to the efforts of both our department and the assistance provided to us by our neighboring volunteer fire departments, Murphy Rural Fire District will receive a reduced insurance rating to a PC 5. Neighboring VFD’s which assisted us with this accomplishment include: Bellview, Brasstown, Grape Creek, Hanging Dog, Martins Creek, Peachtree, Ranger and Valleytown. Our successful rating reduction would not have been possible without their assistance. We are very grateful for their help and we stand ready to assist them when they undergo their rating inspection.
The Town of Murphy received their current PC 6 rating back in 1998 after repeating an inspection from a 1996 inspection which we received a PC 7. Prior to this the Town of Murphy had been a PC8 fire district since the early 1900’s. The Murphy Rural Fire District had always received a split PC rating based on property within 1,000’ of a fire hydrant receiving the same rating as the Town of Murphy and property outside of 1000’ of a hydrant receiving a PC 9. Upon receiving our current PC 6/9 back in 1999, our department evaluated the improvement statement we received identifying our deficiencies. Upon this evaluation, we developed and implemented a master plan which took us 13 years to complete with the anticipation of lowering our protection class rating.
This plan included many things including but not limited to acquiring an additional fire engine, constructing a new fire station and relocating an existing station, acquiring additional equipment, replacing an additional fire engine and fire tanker, through testing and maintenance of equipment and installing dry hydrants in our rural district. Upon completion of this plan, we underwent this rating process in July of this year. We received notification from NC Insurance Commissioner / State Fire Marshal Wayne Goodwin on November 20th announcing our rating reduction which will result in substantial insurance premium savings to our residential property owners in the Murphy Rural District. Additionally, commercial property owners in both the Murphy and Murphy Rural Fire Districts will enjoy insurance premium savings.
We had a choice to make with repeating our insurance rating. The choices included rating the Town of Murphy only, which would have resulted in another split PC rating for the Murphy Rural District, or complete a separate rating for Murphy Rural, separate from the Town of Murphy. Following a careful evaluation of our capabilities, the decision was made to rate the Murphy Rural District separately, insuring all property owners the same potential insurance premium savings regardless of their property proximity to a fire hydrant. This was a risky challenge for our department since most commercial property in the Murphy Rural District already enjoyed a reduced rating like the Town of Murphy District. We were concerned about the possibility of these property owners having an insurance premium increase if we did not match the current reduced rate they currently enjoyed. Following tremendous planning, training and evaluation, we were hopeful we would at least match the lower part of our current split rating which was a PC 6. If we were successful with this effort it would result in an insurance premium savings to ALL property owners in the Murphy Rural District. Everyone pays a rural fire tax so I felt it was necessary that all our citizens have the capability to receive lower insurance premiums not just those property owners within 1,000’ of a fire hydrant.
As a result of this rating reduction, we have heard from property owners which are affected by this reduced protection class and they are thrilled about their savings. They will receive enough insurance premium savings to offset 100% + of their total fire tax. Our fire station located on Hiwassee Street will also enjoy an insurance premium reduction of $1,427 annually. Individual cost savings vary greatly depending on many factors including but not limited to: type of structure, owner’s credit score and claim history.
We are grateful for our success which is attributed to our personnel. As outlined in our master plan, we completed many necessary steps which helped with reducing this protection class rating; however, nothing would have been possible without the dedication and determination of our personnel. They dedicate many, many hours to training and maintenance and testing of equipment which is a major part of the rating process. Examples include testing of 255 fire hydrants twice a year, testing 14,000+ feet of fire hose annually, testing and maintenance of 3 fire engines, 1 aerial ladder, and testing all the various other equipment. All this was in addition to their dedicating 8,604 hours to fire training and 3,253 hours to incident mitigation over the last 3 years.
We are very proud of what we were able to accomplish benefiting our local citizens. We are very appreciative of the support we receive from our citizens, the Town of Murphy and the Cherokee County Commission. We plan on evaluating the results of our rating and will develop and implement another master plan to maintain or reduce our current rating. As we move forward with this process, it is our desire to continue delivering strong customer service and being a positive asset to the citizens and visitors of our community.
Last Updated ( Friday, 15 November 2013 02:52 )