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Lanett Fire Department given 2 ISO rating

LANETT — Lanett Fire & EMS Chief Johnny Allen was a happy man on Monday. At approximately 12:30 p.m., he received word from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) that Lanett’s rating has been moved up from a 3 to a 2. This puts the LFD within the top two percent of fire departments in the U.S. and the top two percent in Alabama.

Fire departments are rated between 1 and 10 with 1 being the best and 10 not meeting basic ISO requirements.

Anything above a 5 is good, 3 is excellent and 2 puts the department among the best in the nation.

“We have come a long way since I got here in 2006,” Chief Allen said. “We were a 6 back then. We were reclassified as a 3 in 2015, and now we are a 2. I have thought for a long time that the people of Lanett and the surrounding area were so fortunate to have the quality of training we have with our firefighters and our EMS staffs. We can put some of the best-trained people anywhere on the scene of an accident or a fire.”

Allen said the people of the Valley area are fortunate to have a first-class communication system along with well-equipped and trained fire and EMS departments. There are strong mutual aid agreements between local departments to be at any emergency if needed.

The ISO rating is the gold standard of fire departments. Homeowners who live in cities with excellent ratings benefit in savings on their fire insurance premiums.

“Capt. Jamie Heard did a fantastic job of organizing the data on this and keeping up with our training and equipment needs,” Allen said. “I want to thank him and all our employees for this. They have bought in to what we are trying to do here in Lanett. They have taken the torch and are going in the direction we need to go.”

Allen said the firefighters, fire medics and paramedics are receiving a fair wage for the work they do.

“We just want to have the confidence of our citizens,” he said. “That means more to us that getting a pat on the back. We want people to sleep well at night knowing that if they ever need to call on someone for help, they will be getting some of the best help they could hope for.”

Lanett’s score in the latest rating was 85.6. That’s getting close to a 90, which is a No. 1 rating.

“It’s almost unheard of for a small-town fire department to be rated a 2,” Allen said. “The equipment and training of your fire department is half of that score. Another 40 percent is your water department and 10 percent your communications. We scored a 100 on the communications portion. The credit there goes to Chambers County 9-1-1 and the Emergency Management Agency (EMA). We are so fortunate to have them.”

Allen also gives credit to former Superintendent Steve Crawley and Shane Stodghill of the Lanett Water Department for the work they’ve done.

“They have worked hard on their end,” he said.

Allen said it was very exciting for Lanett to have such a lofty rating and that it should make for a strong selling point for the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA).

“It’s another tool in their arsenal,” he said. “It should help them with the great work they have been doing for the entire county.”