Richmond FD earns better rank

TUPELO – Residents and businesses inside the Richmond Volunteer Fire Protection District soon could enjoy lower insurance fees.
The Mississippi State Rating Bureau upgraded the district’s fire insurance class from a 9 to an 8 after a recent inspection revealed numerous improvements, according to a letter from the bureau dated April 26.
Richmond Volunteer Fire Chief Joe Banik shared the good news with Lee County supervisors Monday.
“Three years ago … we dedicated ourselves to getting all new equipment,” Banik said. “All the fire protection gear and all of our noses, nozzles and everything is brand new. We’re still working on getting new trucks.”
The department also made advancements in its water supplies, Banik said.
Each fire district in the state has a classification from 1-10 assigned by the Mississippi State Rating Bureau. One is the highest and best rating, 10 is the least.
Insurers use the classifications to set fire insurance fees for businesses and homeowners in each district. Banik said the extra point could lower insurance rates by as much as 15 percent for those inside his district.
When the Richmond Fire Department opened in 1992, it had a rating of 10, said Assistant Chief Tony Schmidt. It achieved a 9 in 2001.
Only departments with paid staff can earn a class 7 or lower, Banik said. The Richmond Department is fully volunteer. It serves more than 1,600 people and 625 structures.
“I’ve never seen a group of volunteers to take the bull by the horn like these guys,” said District 5 Supervisor Joe McKinney, who several times during the meeting praised the department and its efforts.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@journalinc.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal