City rating improves from six to four

An improved fire rating for the city of Havelock will likely mean lower insurance rates for residents and businesses.

The office of State Fire Marshal Mike Causey informed Havelock Fire and Rescue Chief Rick Zaccardelli on Dec. 20 that the city’s fire rating will go from a Class 6 to a Class 4 as of April 1. Fire insurance ratings go from one to 10, with one being the best.

“ … The city of Havelock has been at a rating of a six for several years, and we have been working hard to try to lower our rating,” Zaccardelli said.

Considered in the state fire marshal’s inspection are response times, equipment, personnel, training, water availability and other factors relating to the fire department’s ability to get to and extinguish a fire.

“It’s pretty big for the city of Havelock,” said Zaccardelli.

Building the West End Fire Station in 2010, and adding trucks and personnel contributed to lowering the department’s response time, but Zaccardelli said it is much more than the department.

“All of those things throughout the years have helped get that rating,” he said. “It’s the guys at public works that go out here and flow all of the hydrants. That’s part of the rating. When you see these guys out there at 2 o’clock in the morning flowing the hydrants, that is part of it.

“We can’t put a fire out if the hydrants aren’t working. All of those intricate parts help that rating. It’s the tele-communicators. The way that they dispatch us and the time frame in which they do it is all graded, so when you dial 911, they have to pick up and they have to dispatch us within a certain amount of time. All of that is part of that grade. Our IT department is integral. They make sure everything talks, all of our computers are talking back to dispatch. All of that is huge. It’s not just the fire department. It’s every department within the city.”

Havelock Fire and Rescue has 18 paid personnel, three fire trucks including two pumpers and a ladder truck, plus four EMS units and a rescue truck.

Havelock City Manager Frank Bottorff said the new rate reinforces what many already knew.

“We have a tremendous force with tremendous leadership and tremendous talent working at all levels of the fire and EMS department,” Bottorff said. “We are quite proud of what they do on a daily basis and I think this reinforces that and shows our community that they can have a lot of faith in what the fire and EMS people do here.”

Mayor Will Lewis said the news is great for the city’s future.

“Obviously it does create that situation where I think your homeowners should feel safer, or if you are moving here, you will feel safe and very responsive community as far as your emergency services and of course businesses, too,” said Lewis. “They are going to put the kind of investment in our community and I think they would like to know that they will be having this sort of protection for the tax dollars that they are paying, but I think that I was more excited about was the amount of teamwork that it took to get it done.”

Lewis also lauded the different departments for working together.

“Nothing great happens in the city of Havelock unless it happens as a team, and I think this is a great example of how multiple departments working at a very high level and communicating amongst themselves made this possible,” Lewis said.