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Three Lafayette County fire districts receive better ratings

More county homeowners can expect their insurance premiums to decrease, thanks to the Mississippi Fire Rating Bureau lowering the fire rating in three fire grading districts in Lafayette County.

According to Lafayette County Fire Coordinator Wes Anderson, the fire rating went from an 8 to a 7 in the Clear Creek/West Spring Hill and College Hill fire districts and from a 9 to a 7 in the Abbeville Fire District that encompasses only the area inside the city limits.

A fire district can receive a rating from 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst rating and 1 being the best.

About 50 percent of the rating comes from the evaluation of the fire department’s overall efficiency, which includes the adequacy of equipment, sufficient staffing, evaluation of training, existence of automatic aid, and geographic distribution of fire companies.

About 40 percent is based on the water supply — condition and maintenance of hydrants and the amount of available water — in volume and pressure — compared with the amount needed to suppress fires.

Ten percent of the rating comes from communications — 911 system, adequacy of phone lines, operator supervision, staffing and dispatching hardware and software systems.

Anderson said part of the reason for the better ratings is how the MFRB does its rating.

“They went to a newer, more up-to-date way of how they rate fire departments and water systems,” he said.

The improved ratings were also due to recent upgrades to the Clear Creek/West Spring Hill and Abbeville water systems.

Homeowners in the city of Abbeville could see about a $350 a year savings due to the change in ratings.

Anderson said the fire department will soon be annexing Woodson Ridge and Campground Road areas into the Central Fire District, which has a 7 rating.

When the new fire station No. 17 is built, Tuscan Hills will also be annexed into the Central Fire District.

Anderson said homeowners should check with their insurance agents to see if the change in rating will lower their fire insurance premiums.

The city of Oxford has a 4 rating.