Every five years, the Mississippi State Ratings Bureau (MSRB) pays a visit to the City of Richland to conduct an on-site survey. The survey determines the classification (rating) of the City’s fire protection resources. It not only determines the quality of fire protection the City’s fire department provides to the community, it also affects the City’s value – essentially, the lower the rating, the lower the property insurance costs. In this case, the City of Richland received a new rating Classification of 4 4/X as of June 2, 2021. Prior to this, Richland maintained a Class 5 rating for almost a decade.
All cities are required to have a fire rating, and all municipalities and established legal fire districts are rated on a scale from one to ten, one being the best rating, and ten being the worst. Many factors are graded or assessed in determining the rate that a municipality or fire district receives. Some examples include firefighter response, the training of firefighters, apparatus and how fire apparatus is stored (protected from weather), the records, response distance, emergency communications, building codes and enforcements, water supply and water shuttle systems.
On June 3, 2021, the MSRB made it official. Of significance to local residents and businesses is the following statement included in their formal report:
“Any insurance contracts covering dwellings located in this City may be endorsed from June 2, 2021, on a pro rata basis to take advantage of the current fire premiums indicated in our Mississippi Dwelling Manual. Comprehensive Dwelling Policies and Homeowner Policies also may be endorsed on a pro rata basis to take advantage of applicable rates or premiums.”
Local homeowners and business-owners are encouraged to reach out to their insurance providers to inquire about adjustments and/or reductions in their fire insurance premiums.
To date, the only municipalities or fire districts in the State of Mississippi holding a lower fire rating than the City of Richland are located in coastal regions. For a land-locked City such as Richland, City officials say the lower rating is quite an achievement.