Some residents may not be aware of the role their municipal fire department’s level of service plays in their home insurance rates.
But property insurance premiums, which are determined by a number of factors — including the age of your home, cost to rebuild your home, insurance claims relating to burglaries or natural disasters in your area — also are influenced by your property’s distance from the nearest water source and distance, fire station and the local fire department’s Insurance Service Office rating.
Ranked on a scale of one to 10, with a rating of one being the best, the efficiency and professionalism of your local fire department can have a drastic effect on your bill because ISO ratings are gathered by various insurance companies to calculate residential and commercial insurance rates.
However, Ocoee and Windermere residents who are serviced by the Ocoee Fire Department, have nothing to worry about. Residents may even be eligible for lower insurance premiums as a result of the department’s recently attained ISO class 1 rating.
The department, which had a class two rating since about 2012, was recently reevaluated. The department’s reevaluation resulted in a higher rating due to the numerous improvements spearheaded by Ocoee Fire Chief John Miller and the department’s strategic plan to obtain the rating.
“We have been working on it for the last couple of years because … and that was one of the first goals we set,” Miller said. “We made a five-year strategic plan and the first part of that plan was to attain ISO 1 rating. So we’ve been working hard to look at every aspect of the grading criteria and try to work on all those areas.”
To pass the assessment, the department’s 50 firefighters and four stations successfully increased firefighter training, and improved documentation and response times, Miller said.
Miller doesn’t expect going from a class rating of two to one would net a drastic decrease in insurance premiums, but it does ensure that insured property owners in the Ocoee and Windermere area would be eligible for the best possible insurance rates.
Station 39, which services the town of Windermere, can reach the town within two the three minutes, said Windermere Mayor Gary Bruhn. Bruhn said the town contracts with the Ocoee Fire Department to avoid the redundant cost of a fire station, considering that Station 39 is located only one mile from the town’s limits.
“Many residents don’t know … about who provides their emergency and fire service until they need them,” Bruhn said. “And sadly, Windermere realized how important it is to have a top-rated fire department within minutes of a call. We recently experienced losses of life in a horrific blaze and this is a fire that could have spread to multiple homes. That did not happen thanks to the quick response and professionalism of the Ocoee Fire Department.”
Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected]