Conway Fire Department received the top insurance rating from Insurance Service Office (ISO) which placed it in the top 1 percent of fire departments in the U.S.
"It's a testament to the dedication and professionalism of the Conway Fire Department," Mayor Bart Castleberry, who previously served as fire chief for 33 years, told the Log Cabin Democrat. "I always knew the department would accomplish great things under [Chief Mike] Winter’s leadership.”
Chief Winter, in a statement, said Conway Corporation played a large role in helping the CFD earn the rating with its water distribution system along with its maintenance of city fire hydrants.
"When we needed something, they got it done," Winter said.
Conway Corp Chief Marketing Officer Crystal Kemp said: "Conway Corp is proud to provide water services to the city of Conway. We have more than 390 miles of piping in the distribution system with approximately 6,100 valves, more than 2,600 hydrants and 25,000 meters. We realize that our customers and our community rely on us to plan for future water needs and to provide an excellent water product and we are excited to see the city and our customers benefit from this ISO rating."
Winter praised his department and city leaders as well.
“For us it’s about pride in the work we do," Winter said. "Over the years, it’s been helpful to have the full support of the administration and from the people of Conway. The men and women of the Conway Fire Department strive every day to exceed our own expectations. Maintaining our status as a Class 1 fire department will be a goal of ours moving forward.”
Castleberry said the achievement would help the city's economic development as well.
“Another plus to it, from an economic development standpoint, it's very attractive to industries and businesses that want to locate in Conway.“
The Class 1 rating was effective as of Friday.
The ISO rate is determined by assigning a score of 1 to 10, with 1 being the best score, in three categories — water availability, emergency communications and response time/distance to a fire department. The scores are added together and divided by 3 to get the department's rating.
Winter said he encourages residents to check with their insurance agents to ensure they're aware of the change and see if it lowers their premiums.
The Log Cabin Democrat consulted with Shelter Insurance Agent John Tate, who has been in the insurance industry for 47 years. He said a decrease in premiums wasn't likely because years ago, the state put the 10 Class ratings into five groups — Class 1 and 2; Class 3 and 4; Class 5 and 6; Class 7 and 8; and Class 9 and 10.
"It's probably not going to change anything for most people," Tate said, adding that agents have no control over ISO ratings. "Insurance companies have no control over the rating. The ISO (Insurance Services Office) sets the rating."