The Whispering Pines Fire Rescue Department (WPFRD) was recently notified by North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Causey of their new fire rating of 3. The new designation goes into effect February 1, 2021.
The inspection, conducted by officials with the Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM), is required on a regular basis as part of the North Carolina Response Rating System (NCRRS). Among other things, the inspection looks for proper staffing levels, sufficient equipment, proper maintenance of equipment, communications capabilities, and availability of a water source.
“We knew we had worked hard and were optimistic we would improve upon our previous rating, but to receive a 3, we are ecstatic,” said Fire Rescue Chief Rich Lambdin. “This dramatic improvement would not have been possible without our Village Council’s efforts and commitment to improving our department’s resources and especially our staffing levels. WPFRD personnel devoted many hours of preparation to make sure that we were prepared for the inspection. It’s also important to note that this was a community effort as the local water systems, especially Carolina Water Service, Moore County Public Safety (911) & Fire Marshal are included in the overall rating.”
The NCRRS rating system ranges from one (highest) to 10 (not recognized as a certified fire department by the state), with most rural departments falling into the 9S category. While lower ratings do not necessarily indicate poor service, a higher rating does suggest that a department is overall better equipped to respond to fires in its district.
Higher ratings can also significantly lower homeowner’s insurance rates in that fire district. According to the OSFM, as of October 31, 2019, only 120 departments out of 1520 evaluations statewide were rated 3 or higher, which puts the district in the top 12% of North Carolina fire districts. The department was previously rated 6.
“I’d like to congratulate Chief Lambdin for the department’s performance and for the hard work of all the department personnel,” said Commissioner Causey. “The residents in the Village and
the fire district should rest easy knowing they have a fine group of firefighters protecting them and their property in case of an emergency.”
Chief Lambdin added that residents of the fire district should check with their insurance companies after February 1 to see if the new rating lowers their insurance rates. “Insurance rates are generally lower with better ratings,” he said. “We encourage residents and business owners to see if there’s a change in their annual premium. We anticipate that commercial and retail properties will definitely see a difference.”
If you would like more information on the rating or the WPFRD, please contact Chief Rich Lambdin.