Biloxi Fire Department named among nation’s best

For years, the Biloxi Fire Department has had the goal of improving its state fire rating, and with the addition of a fire training tower, two new stations and other improvements this year, the station has earned a Class 2 rating, putting it among the Top 2 percent of stations in the country.

The state rates fire stations from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best rating. Only Biloxi and Gulfport now have a Class 2 rating. There are no Class 1 stations in Mississippi.

“This new rating is the result of a team effort throughout city departments,” Biloxi Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich said. “We’re obviously proud of this accomplishment for the fire department, for being the leader, but it demonstrates how using technology and teamwork can benefit the citizens of Biloxi in such an important way.”

Fire Chief Joe Boney said the Mississippi State Rating Bureau elevated Biloxi from a Class 3 to a Class 2 after reviewing the city’s investment in the fire department’s staffing levels, new stations and training tower, ongoing training and fire prevention programs and procedures, new equipment and dispatching, as well as upgrades to the city’s water system. Another factor: the Geographic Information Systems mapping’s archive, which shows citywide locations of such things as fire hydrants, water mains and other infrastructure.

“There’s no one particular component that lowers the rating,” Boney said. “The key is dedication and perseverance from the fire department, other city departments and employees, to make sure we maintain an excellent level of service throughout the year.”

Said Mississippi Insurance Commissioner and State Fire Marshal Mike Cheney: “I commend the officials of Biloxi for their diligence in improving the fire rating. This will sustain a viable economy in downtown Biloxi and the metro area. It goes a long way in saving lives and property and reducing insurance rates for commercial businesses.”

The savings on fire insurance will depend on the type of insurance. For instance, when Biloxi went from a Class 5 to a Class 4 in 2009, fire insurance rates could have decreased anywhere from 5 to 8 percent, depending on the type and size of structure insured.

Residents and business owners in Biloxi should contact their insurance agent to make sure they are receiving discounts for the city’s new rating. In fact, the Mississippi State Rating Bureau says those rates should be pro-rated to Dec. 1, 2020.

“There’s one thing for certain,” Mayor Gilich said: “This is a proud day for Biloxi. A Class 2 rating means that our Biloxi Fire Department is doing a great job.”

The Biloxi Fire Department, which has 163 firefighters and 10 stations across the city, responds to about 150 calls a week, with two-thirds of those being medical emergencies. The department has a response time of three to five minutes.
See the Class 2 ratings notification

News & notes: Reports, Snyder, Council, Christmas

The week that was: Last week, the Police Department handled 1,907 calls for service; Fire Department answered 113 calls for service, including 76 medical emergencies and four fires; the Community Development Department issued 122 building permits with a construction valuation of more than $2 million; the Public Works Department completed 147 work orders and the Engineering Department continued to progress on projects throughout the city.  To see the reports covering last week, click here

Snyder Center: The Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community, which closed last week because of three confirmed coronavirus cases, has been sanitized and this morning resumed normal operating hours. To visit the facility page for hours, fees and recreation opportunities, click here.

Council: The next scheduled meeting of the Biloxi City Council is scheduled for Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. The meeting will take place at Biloxi City Hall but will be streamed live on the city’s YouTube channel, to access the live stream, click here. To see the agenda and supporting documents, click here.

Santa Calling: The event, formerly called the North Pole Calling, is now taking applications for Santa and his helpers to call little ones,  Pre-K through 2nd grade, on Dec. 16. Those interest can pick up a form at the Edgewater Mall or city’s website. Application deadline is Dec. 15. To view the form, click here.

Holiday decorations: Members of the Coastal Block Captain hung Christmas decorations Sunday afternoon at the entrance to the Lopez-Quave Public Safety Center. The group, which traces it roots back to the Ward 2 Block Captains, decorates the entrance at Lopez-Quave, home of the Biloxi Police and Fire departments, every Christmas, Mardi Gras, Fourth of July and other occasions. To see photos, click here.

Woolmarket parade: The annual Woolmarket Christmas parade rolled Saturday. To see an 11-minute video of the procession, set to music, click here.