Gilt Edge Firefighters
Gilt Edge volunteer firefighters battle a recent blaze. Courtesy photo

Both Covington and Atoka fire departments have reason to celebrate this week after finding out their ISO ratings have improved.

The Insurance Service Office rating is a report card for fire services which determines how well a local fire department can protect its community, said Covington Fire Chief Richard Griggs.

“It correlates risk for insurance companies providing coverage to homes and businesses and affects property insurance rates,” he added.

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The classification ranges from 1-10, with departments achieving a 1 being exemplary and those at a 10 considered to provide no or very little fire protection.

The ratings are done every five years and evaluate:

  • the quality of the department – staffing, training and proximity to the fire station
  • water supply – availability and prevalence of fire hydrants
  • quality of an area’s dispatch center
  • community outreach – fire prevention and safety courses

Covington has improved from a Class 4 to a Class 2 rating and Atoka, fire chief Henry Posey announced Tuesday, has improved from a Class 4 to a Class 3.

“This is huge,” Posey said. “We were only 1.8 points from being a Class 2.”

Munford remains at a 4.

Brighton and Gilt Edge are still awaiting results while the remaining volunteer departments are appealing theirs as staffing levels prevented thorough testing. They have one year to make changes.

This is the first-ever evaluation for the Atoka Fire Department. The last round of testing was done before the city broke from the former Munford-Atoka Fire Department.

“We spent hours going over everything, pretty much head-to-toe,” Posey said.

“While our rating has greatly improved, there are still areas where improvement is needed,” Griggs said. “I’d like to express my thanks to the community for their support of the fire department and to the firefighters on the line for the work they do every day in service to the City of Covington.”

The new ISO ratings go into effect on Feb. 1, 2020.