WEIRTON - The city's fire insurance evaluation has improved, Chief Jerry Shumate told council Monday.
Shumate said the city's new Community Rating Schedule, which the insurance industry uses as part of the basis for insurance costs, dropped from Class 5 to Class 4. The lower the number, the better the rating, he said.
"There are 672 fire departments in West Virginia," he said. "They're rated from Class 1 to Class 10. There are no Class 1's in West Virginia; one Class 2, 11 Class 3's and 37 Class 4's. We moved into that Class 4 category."
By contrast, he said there are several hundred Class 5's and Class 6's.
Shumate said communities traditionally have been rated every 15 years, but because of computerization it will be done more often - every four or five years - going forward.
And he said the improvement reflects the efforts of the fire department as well as the city's water department and the county's 911 communications system.
"There was a lot of recordkeeping, a lot of cooperation between departments and a lot of improvements since the last time we were evaluated," he said. "We opened a second fire station that we staff full time, and it's well equipped. When the inspector came in we had all the paperwork, all the documentation ready for them to review and the water department did the same, and I'm sure by the grading central dispatch had their documentation in line, too. There was quite an effort between the water department, central dispatch and the fire department."