IDAHO FALLS — Because of significant upgrades to the Idaho Falls Fire Department, you may be paying lower insurance premiums.
The Idaho Falls Fire Department went from an Idaho Surveying and Rating Bureau (ISRB) property insurance rating class 3 to a class 2.
A risk management and insurance adviser, Stacy Matheson with The Hartwell Corporation, said this ranking impacts both residential and commercial properties. The decrease in what customers pay for insurance varies per resident and business depending on their provider.
“We ran a couple of test quotes on some different homeowners that we insure with different homeowner’s values ranging from $100,000 to $500,000, and the average savings with one of our companies was about 7 percent,” Matheson said.
Matheson said no formal notices will be going out to property owners, so they will have to check with their individual insurance companies.
Out of the 251 fire departments in Idaho, IFFD is one of two fire stations to have a class 2 rating.
Chief Dave Hanneman said ISRB evaluates a community’s defense against fire for both residential and commercial properties. One is the highest rating, and 10 would be communities with hardly any fire protection. No department in the state is listed as class 1.
The faster the response time to a fire the higher the rating. The ratings are calculated on three factors: communications (dispatch capabilities), fire department and water supply. Inside each of those factors, there are additional sub-standards that need to be met. IFFD has had high rankings in all three categories.
“We have a very well-gridded water supply here in Idaho Falls,” Hanneman said.
The newest upgraded construct, Fire Station 1, along with new equipment the department has attained, all plays into the departments high class ranking.
“The other thing that made us better is that we just moved … to a new computer-aided dispatch system that dispatches all of our units. We use a GPS model for that. It doesn’t have to look for what the closest fire station would be it looks for the closest unit,” Hanneman said.
Hanneman says the department has worked hard to train staff and have added 26 new firefighters in the last two years.
“The significant change that we’ve made over the past couple years is our staffing. Now we are able, because we have more firefighters on more apparatus … (to) respond to our homes and commercial buildings faster with more people,” Hanneman said.
The evaluation done by the ISRB is typically done every seven to 10 years. The last time the IFFD was rated was in 2012. But because of the significant changes to the IFFD, its administration requested an sooner evaluation.
Natalia Hepworth, EastIdahoNews.com
Scott Stuntz, Teton Valley News
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com