Ciy earns lower fire rating

Henderson Mayor Clem Seifert reported that the city’s fire insurance rating went from a Class 5 to a Class 4 during Monday evening’s regular City Council meeting.

“It’s a big deal,” Seifert told the council.

Seifert indicated that it was Fire Chief Danny Wilkerson who was directly responsible for the positive change.

Wilkerson reported to the council that he received notice of the change on December 19 of last year. He told the council that the last survey had been done in 1994, which is when the city earned the previous Class 5 rating. According to Wilkerson, commercial properties should enjoy a significant insurance savings, although residential customers will not see much, if any, reduction in premiums.

Wilkerson thanked everyone who was involved in preparing for the state fire inspection. He emphasized that he was particularly proud of how everyone “jumped in” regarding fire hydrant repair.

To earn the rating, the city had to overcome 108 hydrants in need of repair as reported in September of 2005.

The fire chief reported that a more desirable Class 3 fire rating was missed by only four and a half points. He indicated that achieving that rating is an ongoing goal.

According to Wilkerson, Class 1 is the best rating, but only Greensboro enjoys that rating in North Carolina.

Seifert asked if the city needed to wait for a certain period of time to be re-evaluated. Wilkerson responded that the city can send a letter to the state Department of Insurance requesting an inspection at any time.

In a related discussion, during the committee reports portion of the meeting, council member Elissa Yount expressed concern on behalf of the Public Utilities Committee that the position that had been approved by the council for the purpose of hydrant maintenance has not been filled.

Yount chaired the committee in the absence of its regular chair, council member Bernard Alston, who had a work obligation during the time the committee met.

Seifert added to the discussion that the hydrants should be numbered and mapped. The fire chief indicated that that had been mentioned in the maintenance report by the state inspector.