HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Fire Department has had a Class 4 fire rating by the Mississippi State Ratings Bureau since 1998. Now, after 22 years, it’s finally been elevated to a Class 3 fire rating.
“We made an active decision and an active statement that said public safety, which will set the stage for all future development, is a top priority for the City of Hattiesburg,” said Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker. “Today is the first of what I hope will be many affirmations of that investment.”
Fire Chief Sherrocko Stewart says his goal was to accomplish the Class 3 rating within four years, but the department was able to do so in only two years.
“We worked diligently within our department,” Stewart said. “From changes in infrastructure to the improvement in staffing, increased shift command, updated standard operating procedures and improved documentation practices from the Mississippi State Ratings Bureau. All of these changes helped us achieve the classification of 3.”
Stewart says he’s extremely proud of his department and will continue to make fire department improvements for the City of Hattiesburg.
“We will continue to challenge ourselves to improve through training, education, fire prevention inspections and community service,” Stewart said. “We shall provide the city the best fire protection in this area.”
This new rating will give businesses and residents a potential decrease in insurance rates, depending on insurance companies.
Commercially, a Class 3 rating could potentially impact businesses by way of a property and casual insurance rate reductions. For example:
- A restaurant, bar or retail space could see a 10-20% reduction.
- A church could see a 2-14% reduction.
- An office building could see a 3-6% reduction.
The Class 3 rating took effect on July 14 and notices were sent out to insurance companies on July 20.
There are only eight other fire departments in Mississippi with a Class 3 rating.