Two Harbors chief explains improved insurance rating
By: From Two Harbors Fire Chief Mark Schlangen, Lake County News Chronicle
Insurance Services Office collects and evaluates information from communities on fire suppression abilities. This data is then analyzed to assign a Public Protection Classification number for the community. The data includes the handling of fire calls (dispatch services), water supply system, and the fire department. Of the three categories, the fire department accounts for 50% of the score. The fire department is rated on a variety of aspects from apparatus capabilities, equipment, training, personnel, and the records kept.
When comparing the ISO classifications, the numbers go from a Class 1 to a Class 10. A Class 1 is considered the best fire protection possible, while a Class 10 does not meet the minimum criteria for recognition of fire suppression abilities. As of 2011, the state of Minnesota did not have any fire departments with a Class 1 or 2 rating. There were only 39 communities with a Class 3 rating.
The Two Harbors Fire Department recently moved from a Class 5 to a Class 4 rating. The fire department is now one of 103 departments in the state of Minnesota with this classification. How this affects individual insurance premiums is determined by each carrier. Generally, ISO improvements below a Class 6 affect commercial properties more than residential. A discussion with your individual insurance carrier will help determine this impact. More importantly, a discussion with your insurance agent is good to make sure that you have the amount of coverage that you are comfortable with in the event of an emergency.
The Two Harbors area is proudly served by 23 members of the Two Harbors Fire Department. These 23 members are volunteer firefighters who stop what they are doing to respond to an emergency. The commitment level of the members is reflected in the ISO classification improvement. However, this commitment would not be possible without the support of family and employers. The unknown of when the pager will go off has a big impact on family and employers. This is something that should not be overlooked and we should all be proud of living in a community that supports a volunteer fire department.
The Two Harbors area community also is reflected in this ISO classification improvement. The dedication to public safety through the support of the fire department is evident throughout the year. The members of the fire department appreciate this support, whether it is in the purchase and maintenance of equipment or the community support seen during fire department activities.
The hope is that the improved insurance rating is something that all of us can be proud of. Many people have a hand in providing fire protection, from the volunteers, to the families, to the employers, and finally the community as a whole. Thanks to to all for their support and vision.
Of course, the best fire protection is fire prevention. Take some time to assess your own home and work environment for potential fire problems. Talk to your family and friends about your fire prevention plans. Check your smoke detector,s as early detection dramatically improves the outcome if a fire occurs. Keeping our community safe from fire requires the commitment of the community. The recent classification improvement is positive reflection of this commitment and together we can continue to provide this service.