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Good news for city
Rating is up and costs could go down
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Businesses around Great Bend may see a break in bills in the coming year, thanks to hard work and planning by the Great Bend Fire Department.

Fire Chief Mike Napolitano reported this week that the city has improved in its Insurance Service Office Public Protection Classification Rating.

What that long title boils down to is this, there are industry standards that reflect accomplishments in public safety and when the community reaches important accomplishments in key safety areas, there are benefits in business property insurance rates.

Great Bend has reached that point.

Napolitano explained that the new rating was reached following in-depth study by ISO experts, and the results were impacted by:

• The way alarms are received and handled by the 911 emergency system.

• City water supply, including where hydrants are located and how they are maintained.

• Fire department effectiveness. This makes up half of the total score and it is an area where there were noticeable improvements that led to the city having a better rating, the fire chief explained.

Part of that improvement is due to the strides the city has made in providing adequate equipment and trucks to cover the community appropriately.

Also, according to the ISO report, the advances in the department training were vital.

One of the reason the training has improved, Napolitano noted, is because of the training tower and facility that was established at the fire station on west 10th Street.

Napolitano also stressed that the investment the city has made in improving water lines around the community was important in the rate improvement.

While this year’s news was good, the fire chief urged, it’s only the beginning. He said the direction from ISO "also gives us a direction we should go in the future."

The new rating should be especially important for commercial policies. Napolitano said businesses would have to meet with their agent to find out if their property rates will be cut because of the improved rating.

Getting the approval from a professional and outside agency was good news for the community, City Administrator Howard Partington said. "This is exciting. This is a real grade card for us."