Fire insurance premiums for homeowners in Districts Two and Three should be just a little cheaper from now on.

George County EMA Director John Glass told the George County Board of Supervisors the fire ratings for parts of Districts Two and Three are being lowered from Class 8 to Class 7. The areas affected include the Agricola, Movella and Howell communities in District Two, and the Ba- sin, Barton and parts of Central communities in District Three.

“A big part of the im- proved fire ratings was implementing a computer-based tracking system on truck maintenance and training that the rating bureau has quick access to,” Glass said. “We should see the ratings continue to improve once the new upgrades in 911 dispatch are completed, hopefully sometime at the end of 2022. This will dramatically help how the rating bureau scores the county. We are also looking at improving water access across the river for Benndale, Broome and Salem VFDs that can help with their current fire rating. As of right now, District 1, District 2 and District 3 are all Class 7, while District 4 is a Class 9.

“Another reason the ratings went down was because of the hard work done by the previous fire coordinator, Lorraine Howell. Getting updated equipment and new- er trucks with ability to bring more water to the scene of a fire.”

Glass explained there are 10 fire classifications used in Mississippi, with Class 1 being the lowest and Class 10 being the highest. The best fire districts in the state have Class 3 ratings. Lucedale, he said, has a Class 6 rating. The lower the rating, the lower fire insurance premiums will be.

Fire Class ratings are based on a number of factors, according to the Mississippi Ratings Bureau website. These include: the fire department with at least four firefighters responding to each structure fire, the water supply, emergency communications, the fire prevention code, the public fire safety education programs and fire investigations.

The ratings are based on a list of criteria that basically fall within three distinct categories. These include the type and condition of fire department equipment as well as personnel training, the dispatching capabilities available to the fire department, and the water supply.

Fire district ratings are reviewed every five years, according to Glass.

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