Awendaw area fire service earns higher grade, officials say

An Awendaw firefighter practices opening a fire hydrant valve. Better training and equipment were factors in the improved rating of the Awendaw McClellanville Consolidated Fire Protection District, officials said Wednesday.

Awendaw, McClellanville and surrounding area residents could see savings in their homeowner’s insurance because the local fire department has earned a better grade, officials said Wednesday.

The new Insurance Services Office rating, which goes into effect April 1, may help reduce annual insurance premiums by up to 10 percent for residents of 4,000 single-family homes. It could also mean lower insurance costs for commercial properties, officials said.

Because of its favorable ISO review, the fire department will have a new Class 4 rating. Currently, it is Class 6.

“It’s a great improvement,” said Fire Chief Tommy Norris.

The insurance industry assigns an ISO rating based on an extensive evaluation of a fire department. The ISO review for Awendaw happened in July and the department found out the results in December, Norris said.

Many insurers consider a fire department’s ISO rating when establishing the amount of premiums, officials said.

The department has six fire stations covering 40 miles of northern Charleston County from Mount Pleasant to Georgetown County including South Santee Germantown, Buck Hall, Six Mile, Hamlin and Boone Hall Plantation.

Awendaw McClellanville Consolidated Fire Protection District was last evaluated for ISO rating purposes 10 years ago. Changes since then include adding more firefighters, equipment upgrades and improved training, officials said.

“The improvement in the ISO rating is evidence that we are not only keeping up with growth, but improving our fire service protection as well,” said County Councilman Herb Sass.