The hard work of Scott's three volunteer fire departments is expected to pay off soon in the form of lower home insurance rates for residents.
The Bower Hill, East Carnegie and Glendale departments were honored by township officials for receiving an Insurance Services Office rating that had dropped from 5 to 3. For fire departments, lower ISO ratings are better.
Only one other Allegheny County community -- neighboring Mt. Lebanon -- shares that rating.
Scott's new rating, which will take effect April 1, was reduced because the volunteers demonstrated to evaluators that their training, equipment, operating procedures, records, response times and responding firefighters qualified for a lower rating.
As a class 3, Scott's fire district ranks in the top 6 percent countrywide among nearly 50,000 fire departments.
Bob Fischer, Scott's code enforcement officer and president of the Mt. Lebanon Volunteer Fire Department, said Jan. 22 that he started working with the three fire companies last summer to improve their responses to emergency calls.
"It was a team effort to get it done," Mr. Fischer said, adding that he now serves as a driver on major calls for Bower Hill on weekdays.
"It's close to my office. If there's a major tie-up, I'm called out anyway," he said.
Mr. Fischer praised the approximately 60 volunteers and their chiefs, John Levi from Bower Hill, Adam Kauer from East Carnegie and Tom Salerno from Glendale. He also thanked East Carnegie's former chief, Jim Mykita, for his continued involvement despite retiring in March after 37 years with the department.
The fact that Scott was able to achieve a lowered rating was especially significant because it is an all-volunteer fire service, officials noted, whereas Mt. Lebanon has a combination of paid and volunteer firefighters.
To make sure that their insurers are providing them the benefits of this achievement, the firefighters urge all Scott residents to list the township as their hometown on insurance documents.
In addition to their improved rating, Scott's firefighters have another reason to celebrate: Colleague Bryan Pritchard's long-awaited double organ transplant has been successful.
A diabetic, Mr. Pritchard received kidney and pancreas transplants from a 19-year-old West Virginia man this month. Following the four-hour surgery, he is recovering at home. Although he still has lifting restrictions, Mr. Pritchard attends the Bower Hill Volunteer Fire Department's monthly meetings.
The department plans to sponsor some future fundraisers to help Mr. Pritchard with the transplant costs.
Carole Gilbert Brown, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org