City's ISO rating could lower insurance costs for property owners

(Sheridan, Wyo.) — The City of Sheridan's ISO rating — a measure of risk associated with fire suppression determined by an outside agency — has gone from a 5 to a 3. That has the potential to affect not only public safety, but insurance costs for all property owners in the area. An ISO rating helps insurers measure a community's risk of fire damage, according to Insurance Quotes, in addition to helping cities and towns improve their emergency preparedness. Thus, the lower a community's ISO rating, the better the insurance opportunity for an insurer — meaning potentially lowered rates. The ISO's staff collects information about municipal fire suppression activity throughout the United States, according to City Public Works Director Nic Bateson. In each of those communities, ISO analyzes the relevant data and assigns public protection classification — a number from one to 10, with class one representing an exemplary fire suppression program and class 10 indicating that the area's fire suppression unit does not meet the ISO's minimum criteria. The ISO rating is determined by three factors, according Bateson. Half of the rating depends on the fire department's performance, including staffing, training, equipment and more. Ten percent depends on the efficency of dispatch, and 40 percent depends on the city's water system. "I really want to recognize all the city staff and all the efforts they have done, dating back to 1998. These are efforts that we just — we consider meeting expectations," Bateson said. "It is their job to hold certifications, it is their job to keep up the necessary training associated with those certifications, it is their job to respond quickly, to make sure that our water system and supply is adequate," Bateson said. Sheridan Fire Rescue Chief Terry Lenhart said that it could be possible to achieve an even lower score. "As we have analyzed this, there is still room to improve," Lenhart said, adding that building a facility to train firefighters (and police) and improving technology for dispatch could help. "The water system is almost perfect," he said. Read how a community’s fire preparedness can lead to lower – or higher – home insurance rates here . *Feature photo: Structure fire in Dubois / Pitchengine Communities photo* #dally #news