Fire-services rating in Campbell improves

By jeanne starmack


Campbell’s fire-services classification has improved, which will mean better insurance rates for residents and businesses.

The city was notified Thursday that its Insurance Services Office rating has risen from a 10 to a 6 on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the worst.

The rating had fallen from a 6 to a 10 two years ago due to lack of manpower and training records.

Fire Chief Nick Herlec has said that without enough firefighters in the city’s five-man department, he couldn’t have training sessions because they train as a unit. He needed at least six months’ worth of records to show ISO reviewers.

The department could not hire more full-time firefighters because the city is in fiscal emergency, but over the last two years it has been hiring auxiliary staff.

Herlec said in recent months that he has enough training records to satisfy a reviewer.

ISO reviewer Thomas Rampe visited the city Sept. 19 and noted improvements, including a new 75-foot ladder truck the department got in January with the help of a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant, Herlec told The Vindicator earlier this month.

Not everyone who has faced an increase in insurance rates has been stuck with it. Not all insurance companies base their rates on ISO reviews.

ISO noted in its letter to the city, though, that most insurers in the country, including the largest ones, use its information when deciding on whether to offer coverage or at what price to do so.

“It’s the best news I’ve gotten since I’ve been mayor,” said Mayor Bill VanSuch. He credited Herlec, city council and administration and state Sen. Joseph Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, for working to help the city’s rating rise again.

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