As reported in a recent article from the St. Augustine Record, St. Augustine Fire Chief Mike Arnold said that the Insurance Services Office have given the city a fire rating of Class 2 after being at Class 3 for more than a decade.
ISO rates range from one to 10 with one being the best. Needless to say, this is a huge accomplishment as only about 1% of communities across the country at a PC 2 or 1.
The effective date of the change in class is immediately. However, it will likely take 90-120 days for insurance companies to recognize the change and incorporate it into individual policy premiums.
We expect that the premium savings will be small – the cost of insuring against the peril of fire is so much less than that of a hurricane or windstorm – and will likely take effect when insurance policies renew after in March-April.
Such a high rating is unprecedented in North Florida. By comparison, here are the classes for other area cities in your viewing area:
Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach – 3
Green Cove Springs, Orange Park, Gainesville and Palm Coast – 4
Palatka, St Augustine Beach – 5
Hastings – 6
To put the new classification in perspective, of the 47,000 fire departments in the nation, a Class 2 rating places the St. Augustine Fire Department among the top 1.3 percent departments in the nation.
There is much that goes into establishing a Protection Class: Dispatching procedures; response time; number and proximity of fire departments; firefighting equipment/technology; the number and professional education of fire fighters. Even St. Johns County’s purchase of an 800 Mhz communications system that links together Fire, Rescue and law enforcement services played a role.
Bottom line for our community – response times to fire calls are shorter; firefighters are better trained with necessary equipment to do the job. That means we’re a little safer and, hopefully, there will be less property damage should a fire occur.