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Shady Valley and Neva fire,departments significantly improve safety certifications

By: Marlana Ward
Freelance Writer

Two local volunteer fire departments have recently proven themselves by earning new, nationally recognized safety certifications. Shady Valley and Neva Fire Departments both increased their Public Protection Classification ratings, which may have positive affects for businesses and residents in their service districts.

Insurance Services Office, or ISO, is the company that determines a department’s certification rating. Ratings range from one to 10 with one being the best and 10 meaning no department is present. Communities seek out better certification ratings, as there is a direct correlation between safety ratings and low fire losses. Fire departments may contact ISO to request evaluation when they are ready to attempt acquiring a higher certification rating. The rating recently received
by Shady Valley and Neva Fire Departments is an impressive 5/10.

ISO takes into account several factors when determining a department’s ability to respond to emergencies. “ISO requires each department to answer several questions about their department and submit records on training hours, equipment and maintenance, water source, building types,
maps, and hose tests. They then come to the department and look at the equipment, the community, and evaluate the department’s ability to pump and move water. Afterwards they compile their results and determine the department’s rating,” Captain Kenneth McQueen of Shady Valley Fire
Department explained. The ISO has completed ratings of over 47,000 districts nationwide.

The members of these local fire departments proudly give of their time and resources to be prepared when someone in their community needs them and to help their department achieve higher certifications. “Each member must meet certain training hours each year,” Neva Fire Department
Chief Jim Shull shared.

The ISO’s Public Protection Classification program is used by insurance underwriters to determine if a home or business is eligible for coverage and at what rate. With their new classifications, the fire departments in Shady and Neva may have helped some acquire insurance or lower their
current rates. “Each insurance company independently determines the premiums it charges its policy holders,” Chief Shull explained. “Different companies have different rates and how they use protection rating for coverage,” said Chief Charles McQueen of Shady Valley Fire
Department. Residents of Shady Valley and Neva should consult their insurance provider to see if they are eligible for a discount.

Both departments are committed to providing their communities with the highest level of protection they can. The Neva Fire Department excels at wild land urban interfacing and structural fire fighting techniques. The Shady Fire Department prides itself on its ability to respond to multiple emergency types. “We answer structural fires, wild land fires, medical calls, lost persons, car wrecks, and accidents of all kinds,” Chief McQueen stated.

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