Fire Department Changes May Be Good for Galesville Home Insurance Rates
Anne Arundel County Executive Laura Neuman announced a plan to reorganize some Anne Arundel County Fire Department structures over the next 90 days. The plan was prepared by acting Fire Department Chief Michael Cox. One component of the plan could help the Galesville community, Cox said on Saturday via email.
The restructuring, announced by Neumann on Friday, is expected to help streamline costs and increase efficiency.
Cox submitted a plan to eliminate the purchase of an airboat and cancel the repainting of some ambulances and a command vehicle pink in recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness.
The plan also provides for personnel reassignments, a 24-hour Safety/Quality Assurance Officer and restores a fourth geographical response area, the media release from Neuman’s office said. The personnel assignments will correct the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) deficiencies at the Galesville and Herald Harbor fire stations.
The ISO is an insurance underwriter and risk assessment agency that determines fire risk. If an ISO rating is low, insurance rates for homeowners in the area of the deficiency can be higher.
Cox said that at no time were Galesville residents in any danger, but may have been paying higher insurance rates because there was not the minimum of four people working around the clock at that fire station, Company 1. The new plan changes that.
The media announcement said that the recent binding arbitration decision regarding shift schedules for firefighters will required the department to hire additional personnel to cover vacancies and to staff a fourth shift. Previously, covering fourth shift was accomplished with overtime. Working excessive amounts of overtime and back-to-back 24-hour shifts can be a safety concern for firefighters, paramedics, and the public.
“Ultimately, the number one goal is to protect the safety and welfare of our citizens and fire personnel,” the release said.
“I commend Chief Cox for submitting a plan that enhances fire department services at no extra charge to taxpayers,” Neuman said. “The plan focuses on a more cost-effective use of resources, response time improvements, and a more efficient management
structure. Most importantly, these changes will better serve the citizens of the County.”