ROCHESTER — Property owners in the village could see a reduction in their property insurance premiums thanks to the efforts of the local fire company.
Rochester Fire Company officials received word at the beginning of the year that the company’s Insurance Services Office rating had improved by two points.
ISO was formed in 1971 as an advisory and rating organization for the property/casualty insurance industry to provide statistical services to develop programs and to assist insurance companies in meeting state regulatory requirements. The organization’s ratings have become a benchmark to indicate fire protection effectiveness in an area.
The ISO uses a descending scale, with lower numbers being the most coveted ratings. A rating of 1 is very rare and generally only achieved by large municipal departments.
According to Rochester Fire Chief Jack Biermann and Assistant Chief Cathy Wagner, Rochester Fire originally had an ISO rating of 7. The fire company received word in the beginning of this year that it had achieved an ISO rating of 5. This will allow village homeowners a cost savings of approximately $50 annually on a home valued at $250,000, Biermann and Wagner said.
The fire company underwent an audit with ISO last fall. The goal was to achieve a ranking of at least a 6, Biermann and Wagner said.
Many factors were taken into account to calculate the improvement and it actually took several years of work to get the company placed for a better rating. Factors considered include the location of the fire station and the boundaries of the area served; the number of fire hydrants (in Rochester’s case there are eight “dry” hydrants located near waterways in its coverage area allow easier access to water, especially in the winter months); the number of nearby fire departments; and automatic mutual aid from neighboring departments.
Also looked at are: department training records and the number of members attending those trainings; response times to calls; the amount of water carried on vehicles initially responding to a fire; the capabilities of each apparatus the department utilizes; maintenance records; and the county’s 9-1-1 communications system and the number of dispatchers.
Biermann and Wagner said that 50 percent of the score looks at the local fire agency, including staffing, training, geographical distribution/location of the fire station; 40 percent looks at the community’s water supply, fire hydrants and the amount of water available; and 10 percent looks at the efficiency of emergency communications and the number of 911 dispatchers.