Firefighters will need volunteers to improve ISO rating - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Firefighters will need volunteers to improve ISO rating

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August 2, 2006

Albany -- Albany'S Fire Chief is proposing a plan to improve the city's insurance rating, that would mean lower insurance costs for homeowners. Part of that plan would involve recruiting 200 volunteer firefighters. 

Right now Albany has a Insurance Service Office's rating of three, which is in the top five percent of the nation. But Albany's Fire Chief has proposed a plan to improve that rating to class one, the very best, lowering your insurance costs. Chief James Carswell said "For a 50-thousand dollar investment, and a lot of hard work by us, we think the citizen's would benefit by at least a half a million dollars."

Chief Carswell's plan to improve the I.S.O. ranking would include recruiting 200 support firefighters, to assist at fire scenes, but not actually fight fires. Carswell said "Helping with the hose outside, blocking traffic. Doing those kind of things that have to be done by somebody. And if you are doing them by your auxiliary or support firefighters, it allows your full time firefighters to actually do what they do inside the building."

Those volunteer support firefighters would have to be at least 16 years old, and complete 40 hours of training.

 Carswell's plan also calls for the Fire Department to build a Training Facility, and take over supervision of the 9-1-1 Communication Center.

Carswell says attaining the I.S.O. class one rating would cut property owner's insurance rates by five percent, and even help attract new business. Carswell said "Some economic advantages, going out and pursuing companies to come into Albany because they have a Class One rating."

 Chief Carswell laid out his proposal to the City Commission Tuesday, saying they could reach the Class One rating in 30 months.

Right now only 46 communities in the nation have a Class One I.S.O. rating.

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