Biloxi's fire rating improves, city insurance cost to come down - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Biloxi's fire rating improves, city insurance cost to come down

Officials from the state rating bureau recently evaluated the Biloxi Fire Department, and decided it was time to change Biloxi's fire rating from a four to a three. (Photo source: WLO Officials from the state rating bureau recently evaluated the Biloxi Fire Department, and decided it was time to change Biloxi's fire rating from a four to a three. (Photo source: WLO
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Biloxi firefighters now have bragging rights for having one of the best fire ratings in the state. City officials said they are not only honored by this distinction, they're also looking forward to a cost savings for the city and for Biloxi residents.

When officials from the state rating bureau evaluated the Biloxi Fire Department, they were so impressed by the manpower, equipment, response time, and other factors they decided it was time to change Biloxi's fire rating from a four to a three.

"The scale is a ten, which is the worst, to a one, which is the best. We've moved to a fire rating of a three in Biloxi," said Chief Boney. "We're only one of three in the state. Jackson and Southaven are the only other two that are currently a three."

Biloxi officials said the new rating is especially welcome news as the city constructs its new baseball stadium.

"For the City of Biloxi, we know right now that whatever the insurance rate is that we're going to have to pay for fire insurance at MGM Park is going to be seven percent lower," said Biloxi Spokesperson Vincent Creel. "So that's going to be an immediate savings for the taxpayers of Biloxi. Our insurers have already told us we can expect to see fire insurance rates decrease on every property that the city has."

In the private sector, city officials said the better rating will also make Biloxi more attractive to potential developers.

"In terms of economic development, when someone is looking to relocate their business to the Mississippi Gulf Coast they can come here knowing their going to get the lowest insurance rate possible for fire," Creel said. "They have that satisfaction of knowing they've got a great fire department responding."

Biloxi's fire chief says the goal for his 150 firefighters is to keep working until they get that fire rating to a one.

"We are not going to stop here. We're going to try to get to the best. It may take us some time, but we are certainly going to do it," Chief Boney said. "It's a pretty big deal for. We work hard every day to progress our rating, but it takes more than us. It takes commitment from the administration and other departments to be able to reach this goal. As well as our guys. Our firefighters. They have to be committed, as well, so it takes a group. Everybody to participate to get to this point."

Biloxi officials are encouraging residents and business owners to contact their insurance agents.

"Now for homeowners and business owners, we encourage them to contact their insurance agent because different insurance companies have different rate structures," Creel said. "But what we do know is that your rates will be going down if they look at this rating and they give it the justice it deserves."

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