AQUADALE — After a visit from state inspectors from the Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM), a division of the N.C. Department of Insurance, the Aquadale Rural Volunteer Fire Department achieved a split rating of 6/9, improved from a 9 rating.
Chief Terry Smith says this is a victory for the approximately 2,800 southern Stanly County residents who live in the fire district, because, “It saves them money on their homeowners’ fire insurance policy.”
Smith said when people build a home in the district, he would get calls asking the insurance rating.
“And I hated to tell them that we were a nine, and that’s why all my members of our department and I said, ‘Well, we’re going to request the lower rate.’”
After a year on a waiting list, the OSFM inspector showed up and went over the paperwork and tests.
“They came down and they inspected our vehicles, all our fire training, our fire hydrants in our district (we have to test those once a year), how quickly we can respond to calls, and how many calls we run a year,” Smith said.
The testing all went well, except for one issue — about four roads in the district don’t have fire hydrants.
“We were well pleased with what we passed. The only thing I didn’t particularly like is when they ran all the fire hydrants down in the county, I hated to see these other roads left out.”
Because these roads didn’t have hydrants, the rating could not be lowered to a 6 for every house in the district.
“That’s why we’ve got a split rating of 6/9,” Smith said. “You have to be within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant to save money on your insurance, which their insurance will probably stay the same. And then the other homeowners that live within 1,000 feet of a hydrant that will be the ones that will be saving money.”
He said many homeowners had the option to have water run down their road for hydrants when they built, but some chose not to.
“When the county ran the water line, people had a chance to sign on, to have water run down their road, and a lot of the homeowners didn’t choose to do that. And I’m hoping now that they will, because I’d like to see hydrants on all the roads in our district.”
The change will go into effect Feb. 1, 2021, and homeowners will be responsible for contacting their insurance agents and requesting the lowered rates.