And when volunteer fire departments dissolve, the rates jump, insurance and fire officials said.
The 44 fire departments in
The lower the ISO number the cheaper the rate.
Green said if a property is more than 5 miles away from a fire department it is considered "uncovered" and gets an ISO rating of 10.
"We have the largest coverage area in the county," said Staggs, a longtime Somerville firefighter. "Five is pretty darn good. It's based on number of trucks, manpower, water supply."
He said the X is denoted as a 5 as long as residents live within 1,000 feet of a fire plug. He said not all households are within that distance.
"On the river side of the road, hydrants get scarce because there aren't as many houses," he said. Staggs added if SAVES went away, the next closest station would be
"If you're not within 5 miles of a fire station, you basically have no coverage," he said. "Insurance really jumps."
He said SAVES is working to achieve an ISO 4, but it would need more water supply, which would require large water lines to be installed.
"Without more water, a 4 isn't going to happen," he said. "Also if we had a manned station, somebody here all the time, it would cut response time and that would help us and the homeowners."
Stinson said homeowners can purchase a 6-inch hydrant from the local water department to reduce insurance rates by about 50%. He suggested four or five neighboring property owners not within 1,000 feet of a 6-inch hydrant jointly purchase one to bring their rates down. "It could pay for itself in a year's time," Stinson said.
The cost for a 6-inch water hydrant and installation is about
Stinson and Mitchell warn that small fire hydrants fed by 2- and 3-inch lines are designed to help flush water lines and are not made for fire protection.
"They don't provide enough pressure needed to put out the fires," Stinson said. "Insurance-wise, they offer no credit."
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