CROCKETT, TX (KTRE) - During a town hall meeting on Monday night, the Crockett Fire Chief announced recent ratings from the Insurance Services Office has rated the city from a Public Protection Classification of a six down to a two.
"We recently underwent an audit for the City of Crockett and the City of Crockett's fire department and our firefighting capabilities, which include our personal response levels, as well as, water distribution and dispatch capabilities," said Crockett Fire Chief John Angerstein. "We came in at a very improved rating. We went from a class 6 rating to a class 2, which is a very good drop not in numbers, but also when it comes to insurance premiums."
According to statistics on the ISO rating website, the new rating puts the Crockett Fire Department in the top 1.5 percent in fire departments nationwide that have achieved an ISO PPC class 2 or better.
To achieve the rating, the fire department had to make several improvements, Angerstein said.
"The majority of the rating is using fire department numbers--from the number of equipment that we have, the staffing levels that we have and their level of training, to the equipment that we have and the capabilities that we are trained to do. All of those factor in and they come up with a number according to the national standards and state standards," said Angerstein.
The improvements consist of hiring three full-time firefighters through the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) Grants, which "provides funding directly to fire departments and volunteer firefighter interest organizations to help them increase or maintain the number of trained 'front line' firefighters available in their communities," according to the federal emergency management agency website.
Also, they had to purchase a new fire engine, adopt the latest fire code and designate a fire marshal who performs commercial inspections, plans reviews, and all fire and arson investigations, Angerstein said.
The improvement "equates to an average of 18.2 percent savings in property insurance premiums for a single family dwelling," Angerstein said.
"It makes us much more marketable as a city and also saving local residents and business owners considerable amount of money in insurance premiums," said Angerstein.
The new rating won't be published until October, but Thom Lambert, the Executive Director of the Crockett Economic Development, said the rating is a big deal.
"It's wonderful. It's almost unheard of to drop four points any place in the United States, let alone in a small town like Crockett, Texas. We have a better ISO rating than a lot of much larger cities, which lowers our insurance premiums, which gives us better fire coverage, which helps us attract new business because it lowers the bottom line of doing business in Texas and in Crockett," Lambert said.
He adds the rating will shave off $300 to $400 a year for a homeowner, meaning that money will go back into the tax base through additional jobs or additional spending.
However, individual rate reductions do vary, Angerstein said, and he urges all residents and business owners to discuss their premiums with their insurance agents come October.