Springfield- According to a recent report by the Insurance Service Office, the city of Springfield ranks among the least prepared to handle fires. On a scale from one to ten, ten being the worst, I.S.O. said Springfield risks rising to the very top.
The issue came up during city commissioners' workshop Monday. Mayor Robert Walker relayed some very alarming comments from I.S.O. officials.
"Based on him verbally talking to me face to face, he said a ten is just like having no fire protection at all," said Mayor Walker.
Springfield's current rating is a six. The main reason the Insurance Service Office said it should actually be the a ten focuses on the number of firefighters responding to a fire.
"We've only had two paid firemen on duty at a time. We do have backup from Callaway, so we always have four firemen there to meet the state law," said Walker.
But the ISO requires four people from the same station respond to each fire. The city said that would mean hiring at least six more people.
"What kind of cost is that for the city?" asked NewsChannel 7's Bryan Anderson.
"You're looking at $40,000 to $50,000 per fireman, so you're looking at between $300 to $400 thousand per year," said the Mayor.
That's an expensive endeavour in a tough economy. But if the city doesn't make the change, residents could see skyrocketing insurance rates, even denied coverage. Mayor Walker assured the city won't let that happen.
"Whatever it takes, we're going to do what we have to do to maintain what we have," said Walker.
City officials discussed paying an outside law firm $20,000 plus more fees to reaccess the city's fire preparedness, which could lower residents' insurance rates, but that won't necessarily affect the I.S.O. rating. Springfield has 30 days to respond to and 180 days to implement the changes.