A three day survey, completed in late March 2006, by ISO (Insurance Services Office, Inc.) lowered Lafayette's classification from a 6 to a 4 within the city limits, and from an 8 to a 5 to homeowners who live within five miles of the city's Fire Hall.
“These numbers mean a whole lot when the providers go to figuring on homeowner insurance,” asserted LFD Chief Keith Scruggs, who said his department has added equipment, manpower and advanced training since the last ISO survey was conducted here in 1987.
“We now have an ISO rating that is equal to the city of Gallatin, which I think says a whole lot for a small fire department in a city of 5,165 population,” continued Scruggs.
“And we were very close to scoring a ‘three,' which would require that we have a designated training facility in place, and more full time firefighters.”
The ratings are based on three components: 50 percent of the score concerns the actual physical capacity of the fire department, equipment, personnel and training certifications; 40 percent of the score is based on availability of water, a vital component in quick and efficient response for fire suppression services; and the final 10 percent rates the city-county E-911 system facilities and support for handling and dispatching fire alarms.
To increase the city's rating would require adding a third engine company to the two existing, and the necessary additional personnel. The report also recommended improving the LFD training program, with pre-fire planning inspections of each commercial, industrial, institutional and similar type building twice each year by fire company members.
“This improved ISO rating is something that is good for industrial and business recruitment, because insurance costs are something they all look at before locating or investing in a community,” noted Scruggs.
Homeowners should also benefit from the better fire suppression delivery system rating. A $100,000 brick home with a $500 deductible could see a premium reduction from an average of $401 under the old 6 rating, to $373 under the new 4 rating.
Not all insurance companies use the ISO analysis to compute their premiums, but many do. ISO is the leading supplier of data for the insurance industry, and most insurers use PPC (Public Protection Classifications) for underwriting and calculating premiums for residential, commercial and industrial properties.
The Lafayette Fire Department currently has six full time, five part time and twenty-four “paid, on-call volunteers” on staff, and three pumper trucks and one service truck that carries special equipment.