Members of the Sunshine Volunteer Fire Department are working to improve the department’s ISO rating, which could positively impact homeowners’ insurance rates within their coverage area.
Firefighters spent Sunday morning on the campus of Harlan County High School conducting a test on their capacity to keep water flowing at a fire scene.
SVFD Capt. Ashley Hatfield said the organization has been working toward this goal for some time, with a lot of training leading up to Sunday’s exercise.
“We are doing a training exercise to lower our ISO rating,” said Hatfield. “Basically what that is, is insurance companies in the county want to see how efficiently you can move water in case there is a major fire.”
According to Hatfield, passing the test is a major step forward to an improved rating.
“Once we pass this test — if we move a certain number of gallons of water — it will lower the homeowners insurance ratings of what their customer’s pay per year roughly 30 to 40 percent, maybe more, depending on how much you pay on your homeowner’s insurance per year.”
Hatfield said an improved ISO rating would help all homeowner’s in her department’s coverage area.
“We have a large coverage area,” said Hatfield. “That would be everybody around Catrons Creek, Baxter, Grays Knob, anywhere that is covered by the Sunshine Fire Department. It would affect everybody in our jurisdiction.”
Hatfield pointed out the test was recorded on video.
“A field rep from ISO services will come in and critique our video,” said Hatfield. “They’ll go through all the paperwork we’ve had to go through.”
Hatfield said ISO will check on all aspects of the department’s efficiency before making a final decision on the rating. ISO rates on a scale of one to 10, with one being the best rating.
“We’re currently at a nine, which is not recognized by insurance offices,” said Hatfield. “We’re shooting for a seven.”
Hatfield said the department should know if they have successfully improved the rating by the end of the summer.
The department was assisted in Sunday’s test by the Harlan City Fire Department, Loyall Fire Department, Martins Fork Fire Department and Bledsoe Fire Department.
Joe P. Asher may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 1161 or on Twitter #joe_hde