North Carolina State Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Awards Gastonia Fire Department Class-1 Fire Protection Rating

The Gastonia Fire Department received a Class 1 Fire Protection Rating from the North Carolina Department of Insurance the Office of the State Fire Marshal, at a ceremony held here on August 8. The designation makes the Gastonia Fire Department among the top 1% in North Carolina and the United States to receive the ISO rating. The Gastonia Fire Department’s fire insurance classification, referred to as an Insurance Service Office rating or ISO, improved from a Class 2 to Class 1.

Photo caption: NC State Insurance Commissioner and Fire Marshal Mike Causey (left) congratulates Gastonia Fire Chief Phil Welch (right) and the City’s fire department for achieving the Class1 rating.

“This is a big day for the City of Gastonia, for Gaston County, and for the state of North Carolina,” said State Fire Marshal Mike Causey at the ceremony. “People don’t realize what it means to get to a Class 1 rating. Sometimes there may be a half-point difference between a Class 1 or Class 2 rating.”

In 1995, Gastonia Fire Department’s rating improved from a Class 4 rating to a Class 3, then in 2018 improved from a Class 3 to a Class 2 rating.

More information about the ISO Rating

  • ISO ratings inspections for fire departments in the U.S. began in the 1950’s.
  • ISO ratings range from 1 (the best) to 10.
  • The ISO is one of the primary elements used by the insurance industry to calculate premiums.
  • Of the 1,533 fire districts in North Carolina, only 28 have earned a Class 1.
  • During their routine inspection, state officials considered the fire department’s staffing levels, training, fire trucks and firefighting equipment, adequate water flow, and emergency communications capabilities.
  • The new rating could help lower insurance premiums for business and commercial properties in Gastonia starting in November.

“The credit goes to the hard work and dedication of our 144 firefighters and staff who are the best,” said Fire Chief Phil Welch. “We are proud to serve our citizens and visitors of Gastonia.”

“This rating is very important. It means a lot to homeowners, business owners, and for attracting businesses to this area because they will get a cheaper insurance rate,” said Mayor Walker E. Reid, who is a former Gastonia Fire Marshal. “This is a very special day for the fire service and for the City of Gastonia.”