Paso Robles News|Wednesday, July 26, 2017
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Paso Robles’ fire insurance rating improves 

Ken Johnson

Paso Robles Emergency Services Chief Ken Johnson

Many business and home owners in Paso Robles will likely receive a reduction in property insurance rates after the city received improved ratings on its risk of fire from the Insurance Services Office last week. The organization rates communities all over the country, says Paso Robles Emergency Services Chief Ken Johnson. In turn, 90 percent of insurance underwriters use those scores to determine insurance rates. The degree to which the scores are used to determine insurance rates varies by provider. However, Johnson said that most property owners should see a reduction in premiums. He recommends property owners to contact their insurance agents to determines the exact amount.

“Our success is attributed to the dedication of our firefighters and the degree of community support we receive,” Johnson said. “While the ISO noted deficiencies with our staffing, we continue to work hard at providing the best possible services with what we have.”

Johnson said in 2013 the city had received a score of 4/9, which was an improvement over the previous 18 years. While the city is evaluated about every 10 years, six months ago the city’s degree of fire risk was re-evaluated following the grading system being revised. The city’s current scores are 3/3x. the organization uses a rating system from 1 to 10 with 10 being no credible fire protection, Johnson said. The 4 and 5 ratings apply to those that have all buildings within five miles of a fire station and 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant.

Johnson said that the organization looks at the community’s ability to defend against and extinguish fires. When it visited Paso Robles in mid 2014, it evaluated it to determine the inadequacies of the emergency communications system, water distribution system, and fire department operations. The communications system counted for 10 percent of the score, the water system for 40 percent and the fire department for 50 percent.

“They found that we had further improved,” Johnson said of the new rating. He said that part of is due to the fact that the department has more staff than it had previously. With the changes made to the organization’s rating system, Johnson said that Paso Robles could be re-evaluated sooner than 10 years because he is confident that with continued changes and improvements made to the fire department, that the city’s rating could improve further. He said that some other change that has occurred that have contributed to the improved ratings is the council approving the purchase of fire engines. He said that because the city has invested in the fire department, its classification has improved.

“I think this is a very good indication that fire planning for the city pays off,” Mayor Steve Martin said. “It’s an indication that Paso Robles is getting better and better.”

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