The Fort Worth Fire Department is being recognized as a Class-1 department after receiving a 9.2 rating from the Insurance Services Office, which evaluates departments across 47,000 fire-response jurisdictions.
The Fire Department wrote on its Facebook page it is among only 240 departments nationwide to be distinguished as Class-1, which the Insurance Services Office defines as having “superior property fire protection.” The Fire Department was previously rated Class-2.
The Insurance Services Office bases their evaluation on three key areas: fire department, emergency communications and water supply.
The class-1 designation indicates a lower risk of damages to homes and businesses which can cause insurance companies to lower insurance rates in these low-risk communities.
Mark Hanna, media director for the Insurance Council of Texas, said that rates are set by the individual insurance companies; but the achievement will play a major role in evaluating risk.
“It’s a big deal,” he said. “The insurance companies look at all kind of things but fire safety is a key factor.”
Robert Andrew, vice president of community hazards mitigation at Insurance Services Office, said their ratings help communities evaluate public fire protection services.
“By securing lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection,” he said. “The Public Protection Classification program provides incentives and rewards for communities that choose to improve their firefighting services.”
Lt. Kyle Falkner of the Fort Worth Fire Department said the ratings can have lasting effects on the community.
“The expectation is that homeowners and business owners will see a lower insurance cost in a class-1 city,” said Falkner. “Hopefully, we are helping folks and businesses to move here.”
Falkner said the department receiving recognition was a collective effort of several departments and the community.
“We hope this demonstrates to the community that we have been good stewards of their tax dollars and now they can say that we have the best departments in the nation,” said Falkner.
Falkner said a ceremony for the community is expected to be organized around Mar. 1 to celebrate the achievement, however, plans have yet to be announced.