-First of all, let me say that my name is Kat so there is no need to put it in quotations. Also, I am not currently, nor have I ever been, associated with Coastal Carolina Community College. I'm sure that you have confused me with someone else.
-You are absolutely right about Wrightsboro's ISO rating and I would like to apologize for mistakingly saying it was a 5 instead of a 6. But you have forgotten to mention why these volunteer departments maintain CONSISTANT ratings or that the conty department has no impact on the CONSISTANCY of their ratings. Both Wrightsboro and Castle Hayne have a water shuttle system that helps them to easily supply water to their equipment even without the close proximity of a hydrant. Please take into consideration that both the Wrightsboro and Castle Hayne areas are rural areas and do not have access to a hydrant system as extensive as the majority of the county fire department's current districts. Also keep in mind that the county has not stated any intention to enact similar policies. So it is safe to say that consolidation will NOT improve the ISO ratings of the districts in question. In fact those in these areas who enjoy a rating of 6 but do NOT live near a water source (which is the majority) will see an increase in premiums.
-If you would like to check the following facts please refer to "Fire Protection Master Plan and Cooperative Effort Feasibility Study" being cited by the county as the recommendation for consolidation. In regards to the consolidation of staffing that you previously referred to, New Hanover County has 90+ full-time firefighters, 38 part-time firefighters, and 30 volunteer firefighters spread between it's 4 stations. (page 15) Castle Hayne has 27 volunteers (page 17), Federal Point has 30 volunteers (page 18), Myrtle Grove has 41 volunteers (page 19), and Wrightsboro has 33 volunteers (page 20). To maintain the current ISO ratings and the current quality of service the county will have to restaff approximately 131 firefighters in these areas. (The numbers previously listed prove that the county has not illustrated the same ability to recruit and retain volunteers as the volunteer departments have.) The county department could easily hire firefighters to take their place, preventing an interruption of sevice and the decline of safety standards. It should be stated that the minimum cost of staffing a firefighter in New Hanover County is about $49,000 (page 239). That means that the county should be PREPARED to see an increase as high as $6.4 million in staffing costs (This is a estimate based on simple math $49,000x131). Please keep in mind that I said PREPARED because I am sure that some of the current volunteers will apply to the county department and will offset some of the ESTIMATED costs. However, this ESTIMATE also does not take into account that the proposal suggests increases ranging from 14 to 29 personnel without regards to which plan they chose. (page 9) To imply that consolidation is as simple as adding the number of equipment and personnel currently spread throughout the county into one institution, and to imply that process will automatically improve ISO rating and budgeting issues, is a misrepresntation of the facts.
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