Newnan Fire Department ISO rating improves
by Wes Mayer
The Newnan Fire Department celebrated its advancement from an ISO rating of 4 to an ISO rating of 3 Friday morning.
“I am very proud of our fire department personnel for their hard work and dedication and excited about the benefits this brings to our citizens,” said Newnan City Manager Cleatus Phillips in a prepared statement. “While our new classification may lead to reduced property insurance rates, it is our ability to respond and potentially saves lives that is the most important.”
A breakfast was held Friday in Fire Station One on Jefferson Street where members of the fire department, Newnan Police Department and Newnan City Council gathered to celebrate the new rating.
The ISO (Insurance Services Office Inc.) classification, also known as the Public Protection Classification program, assesses the fire protection efforts of communities throughout the United States. A rating of 1 is considered superior, and a rating of 10 does not meet the minimum criteria. With a rating of 3, the Newnan Fire Department will join only 56 other similarly rated fire departments in Georgia, and will enter among the top 2,000 in the entire United States.
The last time the fire department’s ISO rating improved was 1983 when it increased from 5 to 4, said Newnan Fire Department Chief David Whitley. Over the last 30 years, the fire department nearly tripled in size with personnel and two additional fire stations, and this year, the two areas where the fire department received maximum ISO points were with its communications and water systems.
Whitley first thanked Newnan Utilities, a Class 2 water system, for allowing the fire department to attain maximum water flow capacity in all its equipment. He thanked the Coweta County 911 center as well for giving the department its first ever full credit in communications — the communications system was recently updated, and although it was expensive, it paid off.
“Ask anyone here,” Whitley said. “This radio system is well worth it compared to what we had.”
Whitley also thanked the department’s chain of command, from the battalion chiefs to the captains and sergeants. He thanked every firefighter for their service, Director Jay Jones of Coweta County Emergency Management, and last but not least, every citizen of Newnan, whom he said the fire department will be giving back to 100 percent.
Although the ISO did not hand out any awards, it did not stop Newnan from creating their own, and Phillips handed out four framed documents with a big red “3” front and center. They were presented to the three battalion chiefs, Jeff Patterson, Steven Brown and Denise Freeman for each of the city’s three fire stations, and the fourth was presented to Mayor Keith Brady and the city council for the city of Newnan.
The new rating of 3 will take effect on Dec. 1, and residents of Newnan will want to check with their property insurers to see if a discount is coming their way.