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Gillett's fire rating is now a 5

DeWitt Era-Enterprise of DeWitt, Arkansas

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When Gillett residents were asked to approve a one-cent sales tax in 2005 to improve the city's water supply, they were also promised that the improved water system would eventually cause their fire insurance rates to decrease.

That promise was fulfilled Feb. 1.

The Gillett Volunteer Fire Department's fire suppression rating was dropped from its previous 8 to 5. That rate is a key factor in determining the premiums residents of a fire department's service area pay for homeowner's insurance.

(The new rating will apply only to residents inside the Gillett City Limits or to those outside the city limits but within l,000feetofafire hydrant, Gillett Fire Chief Monty Young said.)

The amount of savings will vary by insurer, but it could be as much as 40 percent, said Sue Bullock of Bullock Insurance in DeWitt. However, she said that residents of Gillett would need to tell their insurers of the new rating when their policy comes up for renewal.

The assessment by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) was based on a number of factors, including the department's training procedures and records, communications within the department and with neighboring departments and the number (4) and age of the department's trucks. However, "the biggest reason was the new water system," Young said.

The water improvements included new service lines all over town, i ncreased storage capabi 1 i ty and increased availability. Gillett now has 39 fire hydrants, "a large number for a town our size," Young said.

The ISO rating is based on a multi-point assessment. "They looked at all our records and did flow tests on five hydrants in different parts of town," Young said. "If you do everything right, you get 100 points. We got 54 — 50 to 59 gets you a Class 5."

The Gillett VFD has a budget of $ 14, 200 peryear. That comes from the City of Gillett and from the state's Act 833 funds, which are raised by an assessment on all fire insurance premiums in the state. The fire department also holds a fish fry fund raiser every year. (The next one is Feb. 18.)

Besides Young, the Gillett VFD had 14 firefighters — Jerry Connelly, Randy Grantham, Ricky Hayes, Brad Haynes, Dean Jarrett, Brian Kelnhofer, Kevin Murphy, Tony Place, Scott Place, Rick Poll, Dale Reed, Steven Ringo, Walt Sullivan and Kevin Wallace.

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Original Publication Date: February 1, 2012

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