Faith Fire Department receives Class 1 insurance rating from state fire marshal

Published 12:01 am Thursday, April 13, 2023

FAITH — Usually when you walk into a room and see a group of firefighters you’d expect there to be some sort of emergency.

But that wasn’t the case Tuesday night at the town of Faith Board of Aldermen meeting. Members of the town’s fire department gathered to hear the announcement that they have received an Insurance Service Office Class 1 rating after undergoing a recent inspection by the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal. The fire department is now one of 28 in the state to achieve the rating.

“First off, this is great. It’s something that we have worked for and at one time it was something that we thought was unattainable but we’ve made it,” said Scott Gardner, chief of the Faith Fire Department.

He thanked Faith’s Board of Aldermen, the emergency services department, and of course, his firefighters — all of whom were dressed in uniform at the meeting.

Vernon Ward, a senior field inspector at the office of state fire marshal who assessed and gave the rating, explained that the inspectors look at four main areas: communications, community risk, the fire department’s water and training, which he specifically mentioned the Faith Fire Department does extremely well.

“Part of the grading is training, you can get nine points in training. They got 8.34 points and that’s one of the highest grades you can get in training. So much so, I didn’t believe it. I said ‘there ain’t no way,'” Ward said. “That’s because of leadership and the firefighters here and y’all need to be extremely proud of that.”

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey, who also serves as the state’s fire marshal, announced the achievement and congratulated the firefighters at the town’s Board of Aldermen meeting Tuesday night.

“What your fire department has earned is something very few fire departments in North Carolina or the United States ever achieve,” Causey said.

Randall Barger, the mayor of Faith, congratulated the entire department and commented on the fact it is made up of all volunteers.

“They run, for a small town, over 400 calls last year and they’re all volunteers, no one’s paid,” Barger said. “We’re blessed, we truly are blessed…I’m so proud of them.”

Insurance ratings calculate how competent and well-equipped a fire department is to battle blazes in their community and can affect homeowners’ and business insurance premiums. The rating will become official July 1.