Fire ratings improve for some county residents

Published 11:10 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017


NATCHEZ — Adams County property owners near the Lake Montrose and Foster Mound volunteer fire stations may want to call their insurance agents to see if recent changes in fire protection could mean lower insurance costs.

County Fire Coordinator Darryl Smith announced the fire ratings in the fire districts have improved from a 10 down to a 9. Fire districts are approximately 5 road miles from the station.

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Insurance companies use fire ratings as a factor to determine the level of fire protection available for a specific location. Ratings go from 1 to 10, with a 10 meaning unprotected.

Board of Supervisors President Mike Lazarus said the volunteers did the work to get the signatures to form the fire districts and Smith said the volunteers have been “practicing and practicing.”

“We are still practicing,” Smith said. “We are trying to get the rating down to an 8 before the year is out or early next year. Insurance rates should really drop then.”

Last September, Kingston residents near the Kingston Volunteer Fire Department station received notice their ratings had dropped from a 9 to an 8. The yearly savings on insurance for an average $100,000 brick veneer house with a $1,000 deductible was approximately $300.

During discussion of forming the districts, the savings pitched from moving from a 10 to a 9 were more substantial. The potential yearly savings pitched for the $100,000 house and a  $1,000 deductible was approximately $1,300.

Lazarus said his goal for the Lake Montrose area is to get the rating down to a 7. He said getting both trucks operational and the station improving its ability to shuttle water to a fire would play a factor in that decrease.

“It is a big deal going from a 10 to a 9,” he said. “If we can get it down to a 7, it would save people thousands of dollars. I would like to give praise to the volunteers. They worked hard for this.”

If you live within the fire district, Lazarus said you should call your insurance provider.

“If I was a property owner in the area, I would be real proactive about that,” he said.

District 5 Supervisor Calvin Butler said the rating decrease is good for the people in the area.

“It shows that we are working to improve the fire rating,” Butler said. “If you get a fire in the area, you know the volunteers are equipped to handle the situation.”

Butler said he also wants the county to continue pursing full-time stations on the north and south side of town.

“If we can get to that point, then we are good,” Butler said. “We would better the rating, which would be better for the taxpayers paying insurance, and also for saving lives and property.”

The county began discussing building two fire stations, potentially in conjunction with Natchez Fire Department, in 2016. Sites proposed included near Beau Pre on the south side of town and near the U.S. 84 intersection in Washington.

Lazarus said the county has not identified funding for the project. Lazarus projects it would take $1 million to build the two fire stations, and after that the county would need funding to pay firefighters’ salaries and buy trucks and equipment.

“It is in the discussion phase,” Lazarus said. “It is something we would like to see happen.”