The improved rating from the Insurance Service Office came after supervisors created the
The county put various separate fire agencies under one command, and added more career firefighters, staffing, equipment, training and communication systems. The investments cut response times by 30 percent, the county said.
The fire protection and the improved rating is a big deal for people who live in rural parts of the county, according to Supervisor
"What this means is not only can they get fire insurance, it lowers the cost of fire insurance in much of this area," she said.
"We know that fires that start in the backcountry don't stay in the backcountry. It affects everyone in the entire region," Jacob said. Supervisors will be briefed on the rating at their meeting on Tuesday.
While the rating could make it possible for some property owners to buy their first fire insurance policy and for others to pay less for insurance, it's not clear how much they could save. The Insurance Service Office does not determine premium prices, said
The organization uses a standardized rating system across jurisdictions to evaluate fire protection levels, and has evaluated over 48,000 areas. Using a point system, it considers emergency communications like 911 systems and dispatchers; fire department equipment, training, staffing and location of fire stations; and water resources including fire hydrants and alternative water supplies. The system emphasizes the ability of a fire department to respond to a structure fire, Andrews said.
Of the ten possible ratings, the county scored a three on a 10-point scale across the backcountry, with a one being the best possible mark. The county said its classification puts it in the top 10 percent of rated jurisdictions. Previously, parts of the back country scored between a 10 and a four.
"The (rating) program recognizes the efforts of communities to provide fire protection services for citizens and property owners," Andrews said in an email. "A community's investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses. Therefore, many insurance companies offer reduced premiums in communities with better fire protection as measured under the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule."
In the last two years the county has improved its aerial firefighting capabilities and now, through a partnership with the
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