Homeowners in the Nantahala community will soon be able to expect lower insurance premiums due to the addition of a new substation located about a quarter of a mile above the Nantahala School on Winding Stairs Road.
According to Macon County Fire Marshal Jimmy Teem, the district maps have been approved by Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and the Macon County Board of Commissioners. “OSFM has also been notified for an inspection to be scheduled so this substation can be brought on-line and the residents and business owners affected by this sub-station can get a lower insurance premium,” said Teem.
Currently, the new substation, which has been fully constructed, is waiting for approval from the state to begin operation. “After Nantahala passes their inspection which will probably be scheduled in October or November it would be at least February before the substation would go on-line due to the reviews and paperwork OSFM has to do,” said Teem.
Because the new station will mean better preventative methods regarding fire safety, and a quicker response time in the event of a fire, insurance premiums will go down. According to Teem, residents outside the existing six-mile radius of the main fire station in Nantahala have a Protection Class 10, which basically means they have no fire protection. “When the new substation goes online, the residents and business owners within its six miles will have a Protection Class 9,” explained Teem. “Some insurance companies will not write a policy for a Protection Class 10, and those residents in the Protection Class 10 that are lucky enough to acquire an insurance policy could see approximately $100 to $150 savings on their premiums per year for a $100,000 home.”
The Nantahala community is working on other methods to further lower the protection class in order to offer better service in the future. “The fire department wants to be able to give as many residents and businesses as possible a Protection Class 9 instead of a Protection Class 10,” said Teem. “Nantahala is planning to lower their Protection Class more in the future.”
There are 11 fire departments in Macon County and only Otto, Cowee, Clarks Chapel, West Macon and Mountain Valley have substations, while the rest have only their main stations.
Last month, Franklin Fire Chief Warren Cabe spoke to commissioners and aldermen about the need for more volunteer fire fighters in Macon County. Cabe informed local officials that if more volunteers were not recruited, some fire stations would have to be shut down resulting in higher insurance premiums and reduced safety for the affected areas.
Teem noted that Nantahala has worked hard to recruit additional members to man the new substation as well as increase their fleet. “Nantahala recently has bought two, 3,000-gallon tankers and an additional engine along with their other engines they now have ample enough equipment for a substation,” said Teem.