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On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, Pitt County Emergency Management (PCEM), along with members of the Simpson Rural Fire Department, were jointly notified by the North Carolina Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM), that recently completed evaluations of the department had resulted in a new Protection Class Rating of 4/9S for the fire service district. This new rating improves upon the previous 6/9S rating.
The new rate will take effect on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, which will result in an advisement from OSFM to change the insurance rates on dwellings (including those insured under Homeowners Policies) within the district, which are established by the North Carolina Rate Bureau.
This new rating has brought congratulations to the department from Pitt County Emergency Management and from OSFM. Mike Causey, Insurance Commissioner & State Fire Marshal, wrote in a letter to Pitt County Fire Marshal, Jay Morris and Simpson Chief, Johnnie Mayo commending Mayo and the Department for the “cooperation given to (their) representative during (their) recent visit.”
Those congratulations were echoed by Pitt County Fire Marshal, Jay Morris who noted “in such times of high uncertainty as we are currently in, it’s comforting to the residents of Pitt County and the Simpson Rural Fire District, to know that their local responders are still dedicated to providing the highest level of safety and service possible to their friends, families, and neighbors.”
Understanding this rating: The North Carolina Response Rating System (NCRRS) ranges from one (highest) to 10 (not recognized as a certified fire department by the state), with most rural departments falling into the 9S category. While lower ratings do not necessarily indicate poor service, a higher rating does suggest that a department is overall better equipped to respond to fires in its district. Higher ratings can also significantly lower homeowners insurance rates in that fire district. North Carolina state law requires inspections by OSFM officials for departments serving districts of 100,000 people or less. This includes all 22 of the fire districts within Pitt County. A full listing of these departments can be found on the Pitt County website at www.PittCountyNC.gov/FireDepartments.