The Appleby Volunteer Fire Department has some new trucks and equipment. Tools, available water resources and speedy response time are factors in improving the department's ISO rating. That's an independent evaluation. The resulting score is a factor in how much you pay for homeowners insurance. Appleby's Assistant Fire Chief, Dave Crawford explained, " The ranking is 1 through 10. If you bring it down two points in the state of Texas you are going to save the property owner roughly 25-26% on their rates for a year on homeowners insurance." That's a savings of hundreds of dollars.
Unfortunately, not all rural fire departments try very hard to improve ISO ratings. Appleby's Chief Tim Hooper is aware that, " They've never embraced it enough. A lot of them are scared of it. They think it's somebody coming down to tell them what to do."
Emergency Service District taxes and more people moving to the country are placing an added pressure on volunteer fire departments to do all they can to lower insurance rates.
An upcoming ISO training workshop will teach volunteers how to improve ratings significantly. The training specifically targets fire departments that serve in the higher ISO class rural areas. This includes departments with a low ISO rate inside a town or city and class 9 or 10 outside the city. The training will focus on items needed to improve your ISO class rating to a class 7 or better.
It worked for the state of Arkansas. " They've shown $25-million a year in ISO savings, insurance savings because of this program," said Ken Awtrey, coordinator for the Pineywoods Resource Conservation and Development. The agency is co-sponsoring the workshops with the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association. Four seminars have been held around East Texas. A May 19th workshop in Nacogdoches will be the last. " We've had volunteer firemen tell us that this has been the best training they've ever had. It goes through everything related to their ISO rating which makes them a better department," said Awtrey.
A financial savings is beneficial, but so is the peace of mind that your fire department is doing all it can to improve its firefighting capabilities.