Residents in the Pine Ridge fire district should see lower home owner’s insurance premiums in the coming year.
Pine Ridge Volunteer Fire Department Chief Chris Galyean said he has been working to improve his department’s rating with the state Department of Insurance since taking the position of fire chief five years ago.
Now the fire department’s state Department of Insurance rating has improved from “9S,” the minimum and effectual default rating for a department, to a “6/9E” rating. Galyean said the improved rating is a fulfillment of a promise made to area residents five years ago when he became chief.
The Pine Ridge fire district covers an area of Surry County west of Maple Grove Church Road and N.C. 89 to Round Peak Road. The district extends north to the Virginia state line and south to about where Red Brush Road intersects I-74.
Galyean said a number of initiatives and improvements played a role in the improved rating. According to Galyean a new tanker, which has been purchased under his reign as chief, and a total overhaul of the department’s equipment played a pivotal role in the improved rating. Galyean said the installation of additional fire hydrants in the district also benefited the department.
“It has really been a chore to get this done,” remarked Galyean. “The department’s firefighters have put 100 percent into the effort.”
Galyean said his department also owes a special thanks to the Surry County Fire Marshal’s office and the Franklin, Central Surry and Skull Camp fire departments. According to Galyean the neighboring departments helped in “tanker shuttling,” illustrating the available mutual aid, when state authorities performed their inspection.
Galyean said the department, which was funded solely on voluntary contributions until about 2009, has come a long way in recent years. He said he has residents, who approved a fire tax, and the 26 members of the department to thank for the headway his department has made in recent years.
The department’s improved rating is effective on Jan. 1.
Andy Winemiller is a staff writer for the Mount Airy News. Andy can be reached at (336) 415-4698.