County considering expansion of fire stations

Published 8:45 am Friday, April 19, 2024

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During the Troup County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, Fire Chief Michael Strickland gave the commissioners an update on the status of each of the county’s fire stations and discussed potential plans to move a few to improve service and insurance rates.

Strickland recommended relocating a few fire stations to help reduce residents’ insurance rates by improving ISO (Insurance Services Office) fire scores.

“In a perfect setting, if someone was within five road miles of a county fire station, and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant they would get the best rating that is all for currently which is an ISO Class 4 in the county,” Strickland said. “If they reside outside of that five-mile road area, but maybe they are within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, insurance companies can allow a little flexibility and give them a better rate.”

“Unfortunately for the properties that are outside the five road miles of a station or outside of the 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, these insurance companies typically give them an ISO rating of 10 which is the absolute worst they can give which subsequently makes their premiums go up,” he said.

Strickland said that he and County Manager Eric Mosley have been looking at potentially relocating  fire stations that are not in optimal locations that are either covered by other agencies like the LaGrange Fire Department or aren’t in a location to serve the most residents.

One station that is ripe for moving is Fire Station 1. The station used to be a combination fire station and fire administration building, but in 2020 admin was moved to the new Fire Administration Building and Emergency Operations Center that was built nearby.

“This station is also now within the city limits of LaGrange due to the annexation out in that area. It was already pretty close to the city limits but now our station is in the city limits. Ideally, our fire stations need to be in the unincorporated county to provide maximum ISO response coverage,” Strickland said. “It would probably be better served to be relocated to further down Hamilton Road where it’s in the county and can maximize that five-road-mile area.”

Another station within the City of LaGrange is Station 14 on Aerotron Parkway. The station was originally built as Troup County Fire Station 4 in 2008 to serve the LaGrange-Callaway Airport. The city took it over in 2012 and kept it for a decade before turning it back over to the county in 2022.

Strickland said the station could potentially be moved to West Point Road, Fling Road area or Roanoke Road to maximize ISO ratings in the county since much of the area the station covers is already covered by the city.

The fire station is the closest to the airport but LaGrange Fire still has direct responsibility and all the training for response for aviation instances.

Commissioner Morris Jones asked how many fire stations would be needed to cover all of Troup County within five road miles, noting moving fire stations to help residents’ insurance premiums can also potentially cause others to have theirs raised.

Mosley stated that it would likely take a dozen or more new stations to completely get all of Troup County within 5 road miles of a fire station.