Suffield Fire Department ISO rating improves; residents could see benefits on insurance policies

By Dave O'Brien | staff writer Published:

Suffield property owners could see benefits on their insurance bills after the township fire department received an upgrade to is Insurance Services Office rating.

Suffield Fire Chief Bob Rasnick said ISO, a private company used by many insurance companies to calculate risk and determine insurance rates and coverage, recently increased the department's rating from a 6/9 rating to a 4/8B rating.

Lower numbers mean a better rating, Rasnick said. The change goes into effect June 1. He encouraged property owners to call their insurance companies prior to that to see if the rating affects their policies.

Water supply "is a very big thing" for ISO, Rasnick said. Residents living within 1,000 feet of an acceptable, ISO-recognized water source or an acceptable wet or dry fire hydrant are now rated class 4, Rasnick said.

All other areas fall under the 8B rating because the fire department has to truck water to those locations, he said. Where there are dry hydrants -- un-pressurized pipes near bodies of water that provide a water supply for firefighting -- ISO requires a 50-year drought survey to determine ratings, Rasnick explained.

Numerous other details go into an ISO rating. The company investigates a fire department's training regimen, its dispatch services, equipment, pumping capacity and other details to determine its ratings, Rasnick said. The new Suffield fire station, which opened at 1256 Waterloo Road in November 2010, was built to include many training components that would provide a better ISO rating, he said.

Questions can be directed to Rasnick at 330-628-9240.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1128 or dobrien@recordpub.com

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