Sunday, May 20, 2001

City fire unit rated among best

Upgrade could mean cheaper insurance

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Some business owners and residents of south Covington may soon get an insurance break, thanks to the Covington Fire Department's new rating as one of the best in the state.

        Effective Aug. 1, the Covington Fire Department will receive a Class 2 public protection classification.

        Only 12 out of 834 Kentucky fire departments have a Class 2 rating, Covington Fire Chief Joe Heringhaus said Friday.

        “This is pretty big bragging rights,” Chief Her inghaus said.

        South Covington now has a rating of 9, and the rest of the city is rated 3, he said.

        The improved ranking means that some business owners and south Covington residents will likely pay less to insure their properties. The actual savings won't be known until the new rating takes effect, Chief Heringhaus said.

        The new rating also is expected to help attract businesses to Covington, Chief Heringhaus said. “If businesses can get a better insurance rate, they may look more favorably at relocating in Covington,” he said.

        Capt. Ken Elliott, president of the Northern Kentucky Firefighters Association, said that he didn't know of any other Northern Kentucky fire department with a Class 2 rating.

        Covington's new ranking resulted from a 1998 survey by the Insurance Service Office, Inc., which is responsible for rating most departments in the country.Departments are ranked on factors such as training, equipment, staff levels, response times and water supply.

        During the last 12 to 13 years, the Northern Kentucky Water District has made a number of improvements to Covington's water system, resulting in improved water pressure and availability, Chief Heringhaus said.

        During that same period, the Covington City Commission boosted staffing in the fire department, and replaced much equipment, Covington's fire chief said.

        “Since 1988, they've added four men per shift for a total of 12 people, which is a pretty substantial investment,” Chief Heringhaus said.


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