You’ve probably grown so accustomed to seeing fire hydrants in your neighborhood you take them for granted.
It’s a different story for rural homeowners. They’re likely quite aware of the lack of fire hydrants, and not just because of the greater challenge of fighting fire. You see, rural areas without fire hydrants pay more for residential fire insurance.
In Washington State, insurance companies depend on Protection Class Ratings from the Washington State Survey and Ratings Bureau to determine fire insurance rates. It’s kind of like the game of golf—the lower score the better. In this case, the lower the rating the potential for a lower the premium. Clark County District 6 has a WSRB rating of “3”, and that’s considered to be a very good rating. However, in the upper northwest quadrant of our District—where there are no hydrants, homeowners face a Protection Class 7 or 8A, which costs them an estimated $500 dollars more a year in insurance premiums than most ratepayers.
We’ve worked hard to change those numbers and address the community risk.
Clark County Fire District 6 solicited an agreement with our neighbor to the north to lower those insurance rates. Under a working agreement Clark Cowltiz Fire Rescue would agree to respond a water-tender to those rural areas. A tender is basically a very large water tank on wheels that provides water to fire engines and substitutes for a fire hydrant. We recently tested the combination of tender and Fire District 6 engines with WSRB and they passed the testing requirements.
This process is now certified, and we urge community members to send the WSRB Certification Letter to their homeowners insurance companies to see the reduction in cost. We estimate this change will save 900 people in 340 residences an average of $500 annually.
“District 6 is continually looking to reduce WSRB ratings to benefit our citizens,” says CCFD6 Fire Chief, Kristan Maurer. “It is important to us to reduce the financial impact of those who live in District boundaries while providing the best service and ensuring safety.”