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Better fire protection rating is another sign of progress

The Clarksburg Fire Department, the Clarksburg Water Board and the Harrison County 911 Center have done their part to continue Clarksburg's recent run of economic development. The three agencies, thanks to their professionalism, preparedness and progressiveness, have helped Clarksburg improve its fire protection rating.

The Insurance Services Organization recently raised the city's fire protection rating from Class 4 to Class 3. The national organization grades cities' firefighting capabilities for the insurance business. In Clarksburg, it looked at the personnel, equipment and operation of the fire department, as well as the capabilities of the water board and 911 center.

Clarksburg's jump to Class 3 is the latest in a steady line of improvement. The city had a Class 6 fire protection rating before 1977, improved it to Class 5 that year, then moved up to Class 4 in 1984. Its Class 3 rating will take effect on April 1. Clarksburg will be one of only five cities in the state with a rating at least that high.

The rating improvement should help Clarksburg's economic development in several ways.

Lower insurance premiums for commercial property owners (a possibility but not a certainty) could encourage businesses already in the city to stay. Lower premiums could convince businesses outside city limits that they'd be better off in city limits. And lower premiums could attract the attention of businesses looking to open their doors for the first time or expand their operations.

The long-term improvement in the city's fire protection rating should also benefit economic development. It shows businessmen that the city -- regardless of who's in city hall and regardless of what economic setbacks occur -- is making progress. It shows that the city and its people are willing to work over the long haul to make Clarksburg a better place to live and work. It shows that this city is a good place to business.

Congratulations, Clarksburg.

Tim Langer

Telegram Editorial Board member

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