City’s fire insurance rating improves from 5 to a 4

Published 8:06 pm Thursday, October 25, 2018

The city of Vicksburg’s fire insurance rating has changed from a Class 5 to a 4, Fire Chief Craig Danczyk said.

He said he learned about the change Thursday afternoon from the Mississippi State Rating Bureau, which evaluates fire departments to determine a city’s fire insurance rating. A low rating means a reduction in commercial and residential insurance rates. The best rating a department can receive is a Class 1.

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“We’ve been a Class 5 for a long time, which has been a solid rating,” Danczyk said. “For many years, we have had long-term goals to enhance the rating, and that’s been a goal of mine and other chiefs before me.

“We’re very excited about getting the news of our Class 4 rating; the citizens of Vicksburg should be very happy as well, because at the end of the day, commercial business and jobs are going to benefit from this.”

He said the department was evaluated on many areas: station locations, manpower, equipment, water supply and system, 911 and fire prevention and record keeping. He said once he receives the official report from the state Fire Marshal’s office, the department will set future goals to improve water and increase manpower.

Danczyk said Independence 3, the city’s new fire station on Berryman Road, had a major effect on the city’s evaluation.

“In previous assessments, we had some negative feedback that we needed a station in the East Clay area, and that our response times to the (U.S.) 61 (North) area were a little too long to get to the hospitals and some of the other businesses on 61 North. And we had a lot of three- and four-story hotels and commercial businesses in the East Clay area.

“The fire station there with the ladder truck satisfied a lot of those needs. By placing Station 3 in the East Clay area, we were able to clear up our coverage map and have shorter response distances to different areas of town and that did help the overall ratings, no doubt.”

He said another fire station will be built in the future at an as yet to be determined location.

“Once we get that information (from the state), we will try to reassess our long term goal, and that’s to get to a 3,” he said.

“It wasn’t just my goal. Many people are involved in this process, and everything mattered. At the end of day, we had a favorable rating. It’s a wonderful day in Vicksburg and it’s exciting news.

“This is a big deal.”

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. called the lower rating “a continued win for the city and a path to the future; it’s how you grow, by building your infrastructure, and one of the best barometers is you fire rating. We’ve got to get to a 3.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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