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East Spencer Fire Department receives 5 ISO fire rating

EAST SPENCER — After more than five years of working toward a lower Insurance Services Office rating, the East Spencer Fire Department received a 5 following an inspection by the N.C. Department of Insurance’s Office of State Fire Marshal.

The department began its quest in 2012 with Fire Chief Shawn McBride leading the charge. He left for about 14 months, but the department continued its pursuit of a lower rating when he returned to the position.

“It wasn’t one person. It was everybody in the Fire Department working together,” McBride said.

He said it would not have been possible without the town board’s support.

The rating system ranges from 1 to 10. The lower the number, the better the rating.

A higher number doesn’t necessarily mean the department provides poor service, but a lower number means the department is better equipped to respond to fires.

A better rating also means lower insurance rates for homeowners and businesses.

The inspection includes testing of hoses and hydrants and providing personnel rosters and training records and other requirements.

The department went from a rating of 7 to a rating of 5.

McBride said he doesn’t want the department to stop at a 5 but work toward an even lower rating.

“We have a lot of room to grow, and over time we can work toward getting a better rating,” he said.

The rating becomes effective July 1. State law requires departments that serve 100,000 people or fewer be inspected.

The ISO rating is something East Spencer residents can be proud of, said Assistant Fire Chief Teon Robinson, “knowing they have a hard-working crew here working not just for ourselves but for them.”

State Fire Marshal Mike Causey sent his congratulations to the department, saying residents should “rest easy knowing they have a fine group of firefighters protecting their property in case of an emergency.”

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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