For the first time in the history of the city, Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service has secured a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office.
Such a rating for fire protection can lead to lower insurance rates for homes and businesses in the Magic City.
“The better the rating, the lower the premium can be for a homeowner,” said Mayor Randall Woodfin. “I’m proud of this accomplishment, which shows the fire department’s dedication in putting people first and working toward top service and safety for residents and businesses. A Class 1 rating puts Birmingham in the top 1 percent in the nation.”
ISO issues ratings, which range from 1 to 10. In 2016, the city had a Class III rating. The city pushed for a review and completed it in June 2017. The city earned a Class II rating in November 2017.
The fire department continued to work with ISO on additional evaluations. ISO reevaluated the department in September 2018 and released the city’s latest results this month to show their Class 1 rating.
Mayor Woodfin praised retired Fire Chief Charles Gordon, current Acting Chief Ross Sheffield and their personnel for the gains.
The fire department worked in various areas to gain the improved rating: The city improved its telecommunications, placed more equipment on their ladder trucks and engines, and partnered with Alabama Power Co. to increase its message about fire safety to residents. The effort to expand its message of fire safety was done through the department’s community risk reduction program.
ISO reviewed 46,000 departments across the nation. The new rating will take effect in March 2019. Homeowners should check with their insurance providers to see what impact the rating will have on their personal home insurance.
“Having an outside organization evaluate what we do, based on national fire protection safety standards, is a monumental accomplishment,” said Acting Chief Sheffield. “I’m so proud of the men and women of Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service. They serve our community day in and day out, ready to go in harm’s way to protect all of us, and our homes and businesses.”