Longbridge Volunteer Fire Department improved its fire insurance classification to Class 4/10, which should have an impact on local property insurance, according to a Sept. 29 release from the N.C. Department of Insurance Office of State Marshal.

The North Carolina response rating system ranges from one (highest) to 10 (not recognized as a certified fire department by the state) with most rural departments falling into the 9S category, according to the release.

Longbridge was previously rated Class 7/10.

A higher, better rating suggests that a department is better equipped to respond to fires in its district and can also significantly lower homeowners’ insurance rates in that district.

“I’d like to congratulate Chief (Bruce) Dunlevy for the department’s performance and for the hard work of all the department members,” state Insurance Commissioner and Fire Marshal Mike Causey said in the release.

Dunlevy added, “I would like to thank and congratulate all of our dedicated volunteers for all of their effort, time and hard work contributed into preparation for the survey. All of our members are dedicated volunteers. It requires a lot of time and effort from everyone to keep the department up to current standards…

“I would also like to thank our automatic aid departments Churchill Five-Forks, Roanoke-Wildwood and Littleton volunteer fire departments for all of their assistance with the water supply section of the survey.”

Dunlevy said those departments attended multiple scheduled trainings to prepare for the survey and he also thanked the Warren County Fire Marshal, Sheriff’s Department and water department for their assistance in achieving the rating.

The new insurance rate will be effective January 1, 2021.

State law requires officials to inspect departments serving districts of 100,000 people or less, which makes up all but 12 of North Carolina’s fire districts.