Many Berea and southern Madison County residents will see a cut in their homeowner insurance rates after the Berea Fire Department received an upgrade in its Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating.
The ISO rating is determined by an independent analytic company that rates the capability of departments to suppress fires, taking into account equipment, water supply, facilities, training and planning.
At last week's meeting of the Berea City Council, City Administrator Randy Stone reported the Berea Fire Department earned an upgrade from a level three department to a level two classification, indicating Berea has enhanced its ability to respond to and suppress fires. Participating insurance companies take that information into account when they determine homeowner's insurance rates. Ratings are on a scale from one to 10, with one being the best and 10 being a department that fails to meet minimum ISO standards.
Citing the efforts of Berea Fire Department Chief Shawn Sandlin in earning the upgrade, Stone said the change could impact residents beyond city limits.
"It should help not only our city residents, but our county residents also," Stone said. "We appreciate what our fire department does, and our entire community will get a reward from this activity."
Stone further noted the new rating will go into effect in October. At that time, local residents should contact their insurance agents or providers to determine how much savings they'll realize on their insurance premiums, Stone said.
During council comments, officials praised Sandlin's work, noting the benefits to local residents.
"Congratulations to Chief Sandlin," said Councilmember Jim Davis. "That's a big savings to the ratepayers in the community, and that's good work."
Council members Emily LaDouceur and Steve Caudill congratulated Sandlin as well, with Caudill praising Sandlin for his initiative.
"What an amazing accomplishment," Caudill said. "This is a service to our whole community. Chief Sandlin took that on himself, and his initiative is an example of a department head going out and doing more work to benefit the community. It really is a big deal to go from a three to a two."
Stone added another contributing factor for the upgrade was the City of Berea hiring six new firefighters. That, and the hiring of a dedicated training officer, will help Berea maintain its firefighting capabilities, Stone said.