In September, the City of Early received a letter from Insurance Services Office (ISO) which stated the City’s new ISO rating. A city’s ISO rating determines several things for its residents and businesses and is determined through an evaluation called a Public Protection Classification Survey. This survey was conducted a few months back where ISO inspected the fire department as a whole, all of the equipment, fire hydrants, training, response times and anything that had to do with the Fire Department. After they collected this data, ISO recommended a classification of 03/3Y to the Texas Department of Insurance/State Fire Marshal’s Office. The rating system gives a rating between 1 and 10 with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst.
“We have been working to lower our rating for the last several years.” Said Fire Chief Chad Hill. “Our last evaluation was conducted around 1995 where we received a rating of a 6.”
For the last twenty-six years the City of Early has been operating under an ISO rating of a 6 and this new rating of a 03/3Y (essentially a 3) will allow for many advantages for both residential and commercial residents of the city.
“This could potentially lower the insurance for rates for both residential and commercial properties. Businesses do look at this, when they look to do business in Early, they look at the ISO rating.” Said Chief Hill.
So, what led to a rating that is twice as good as it was? Well, for one, the department has grown substantially over the last twenty-six years and even more so just over the last 6 years. In 2015, the Early Fire Department hired its first paid fire fighter. Today the Early Fire Department has 3 full time (soon to be 4), 12 part-time and 12 volunteer fire fighters.
On top of that, the Early FD has seen an improvement in equipment and actually owns the largest tanker in the county which holds 3,000 gallons of water. They also received a new truck 3 years ago and Chief Hill says that the City Council has done a wonderful job of hearing the needs of the department and meeting those needs.
“It’s not just me, we have to thank the City Administrator and the Council for meeting the needs and making this goal happen.” Said Chief Hill.
This rating affects more than just the City of Early, it also affects all locations within a 5-mile radius of the Fire Department. So, anything in the county that is within those 5 miles has a rating of a 03/3Y, even if it was a 10 before.
Chad ended the interview by stating that “This is such a good thing for the people of Early and the Early businesses because it means that they could see a financial break on their insurance and are already seeing better protection from the fire station. It’s an all-around win.”
It is the Early Fire Department’s goal to reach a rating of a 2 within the coming years. Once the department feels that it is ready, they will call for an inspection from ISO.