The standard used for these ratings is set by the Insurance Services Office, Inc. In the most recent inspection, Sumiton received a rating of 3/9, which will take effect on June 1. The scores are based on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best rating available.
According to ISO’s website, the two numbers indicate a split rating. The first number applies to properties within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant. The second number applies to properties beyond 1,000 feet of a hydrant.
On Friday, ISO also released numbers for Curry, which received a rating of 6/9 on the most recent inspection and Parrish, which will be rated 5/9 beginning in June. Every other department in the county currently has a 5/9 or higher rating.
Nationwide, only 716 departments have higher ratings (Class 1 or 2) and only 2,237 of the almost 49,000 departments rated by ISO received a rating of 3. That places Sumiton in the top 6 percent of departments in the country.
Already the lowest in the county, with a 4/9, Fire Chief David Waid said the city officials and members of the fire department had worked diligently to lower the score.
“There is a lot of work that has gone into this,” Mayor Petey Ellis agreed. He also said he was proud of the employees and volunteers who made the lower rating possible.
The score is determined using a formula weighting communications at 10 percent, water supply at 40 percent and the fire department itself at 50 percent.
Waid credited the 911 for making many improvements in the communication systems that helped the score. He also said the city adding personnel inside Sumiton’s dispatch to help with responses to fire alarms improved that communications score.
He also touted Sumiton’s water department and supply for keeping that score high.
The fire department itself was graded on equipment and personnel. The department currently has two people on duty and averages 13 people responding to the first alarm on a structure fire.
Businesses will see the highest savings on insurance from the new rating, although homeowners will see some savings on their homeowner’s insurance as well, if their insurance company uses ISO ratings to determine loss risk.
But, most importantly to Waid, it means that the residents are being protected. He gives a lot of that credit to Mayor Petey Ellis and the city council, for allowing him to run the department and making sure they are never without the equipment they need to protect themselves, the residents and their property.