Excerpts from jc-tg.com:

The City of Mattoon’s insurance rating for fire protection service recently improved, a change that could yield lower insurance premiums for some property owners. Fire Chief Jeff Hilligoss said the Insurance Services Office (ISO) issues these ratings for how well protected communities are by their fire departments. Insurance companies then use that score to help set property insurance rates, although the impact on homeowner insurance policies varies by insurer.

An ISO fire insurance rating is scored on a range of 1-10, with lower numbers meaning better ratings. There are four main criteria for for score: 50 percent from the quality of the fire department, 40 percent from the availability of water supply, 10 percent from the quality of the local 911 system, and an extra 5.5 percent from fire prevention programs. Only 0.71 percent of all communities surveyed have a rating of 1, and a rating of 5 is both the median and most common rating. The Mattoon Fire Department previously had a rating of 4/4, and  Mattoon improved to 3/3 through changes in documentation, additional training, inspection services, and water distribution system improvements.

The Mattoon Fire Department will work to lower this score again in a couple of years.

Excerpts from jc-tg.com:

The Mattoon City Council voted on June 16 to appoint Jeff Hilligoss to the chief’s post after conducting a candidate search process with the Illinois Fire Chiefs Association. 

In 1995, Hilligoss began pursuing his career in firefighting when he became a volunteer with the Lincoln Fire Protection District. He served there as a volunteer firefighter for 25 years and was eventually named chief of this district’s Old State Road station in rural Mattoon, a position he held until recently.

After gaining experience as a volunteer firefighter, he was hired by the Mattoon Fire Department 19 years ago and worked his way up the ranks to engineer and then captain, and also became a training supervisor. Hilligoss has years of experience with the day to day operations of the department and cooperating with other area emergency response agencies. He said that experience will help him as he takes on the administrative responsibilities with Mattoon. Hilligoss intends to develop long term plans for vehicle and equipment purchases, and continuing to improve the city’s Insurance Services Office rating for fire protection capabilities.

The Mattoon Fire Department’s previous permanent chief retired in February 2019. The department subsequently had two interim chiefs; first Kris Phipps and then Kevin Schott.

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