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Fire premiums to fall

By Sherri Ellington It may have come too late for the Lighthouse Restaurant, but Lamar County’s Insurance Service Office fire insurance premium rating, also known as public protection classification, has dropped from a 7 to a 5. This will lower the insurance rates for all residents along county water lines within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant and five road miles of any county-run fire station. ’Those are road miles, not as the crow flies,’ said fire chief Steve Andrews. ‘We have to get from the station to your mailbox and not be over five miles.’ Those few outside the five-mile limit and off the county water lines ‘“ now run by Barnesville ‘“ are still rated at a 9. ’We would have been a 4 if we’d have had a couple of paid firefighters,’ said city administrator Harold Wilson at the July 11 city council meeting. Barnesville is rated as a 4. ’Out of a possible 15 points for personnel, we got two. Any number of personnel would have helped that,’ said Wilson, and fire chief Steve Andrews agreed. ’I look at quality but the ISO looks at quantity, numbers,’ said Andrews. ‘We have four men per station and eight would have been better, but over the years we’ve gone from a lot of members to more functional members. It’s not always in the numbers.’ The county got high marks for good equipment ‘“ paid for by SPLOST funds, including two new fire trucks ‘“ training, handling calls, response time, pumper capacity and water supply. ’Thanks to our firemen for their hard work. I want to thank the water authority. The water supply was big points,’ said Andrews. ’If those fire hydrants hadn’t been out in the county we’d have never have gotten that 5. Brad White worked with us on 911 communications and Jason Shirey with Barnesville, which runs the water lines now, was our point man with the hydrants.’ It will take time for the paperwork to get to insurance companies before people will begin seeing lower insurance rates. Those usually go into effect the next renewal after an ISO change. Andrews urges citizens to check with their insurance agents. ’We went from a 9 to a 7 years ago and there could be people out there who are still being charged at the highest rate,’ he said. Insurance premium savings will vary by company, type of coverage and property value. People should check on their insurance policies for a PPC or ISO classification or rating.

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