There’s a lot to be said for the rural life. Neighbors are close enough to be neighborly, but far enough away that they’re not crowding you.

There’s wide open space, peace and quiet, room for animals to roam.

But there’s a trade-off. Living outside of a municipality means you may not have access to the same services. One in particular – fire service -- can have an adverse effect on the pocketbook through higher insurance rates.

Because of that, improvements achieved recently by several area volunteer fire departments are big news.

Recent reviews resulted in improved scores from the Insurance Service Office, which rates the quality of fire service to determine insurance rates for homes and businesses. Rehobeth Fire and Rescue rose from Class 5 to Class 3; Hodgesville and Madrid VFDs saw a one-step improvement. Those reclassified rankings will save insurance holders several hundred dollars each year in premiums.

More important than the financial savings is the comfort the new ranking should bring rural residents. VFDs are staffed by motivated and dedicated friends and neighbors, and their determination to provide the best possible service to their communities is what makes the incremental improvements in staffing and equipment possible.

They deserve a note of thanks. Better yet, part of the household savings on insurance premiums would make a meaningful contribution to your local volunteer fire/rescue squad.

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