Improved Rating For OKC Fire Department Could Save Residents Money

Tuesday, August 14th 2012, 8:47 am
By: News 9

The Oklahoma City Fire Department is expected to make a big announcement Tuesday to the city council.

News 9 has learned the department's Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating has improved from a nine to a five for the outlying areas of the city.

An ISO rating is like a report card grade for fire departments. The scores are given on a scale of one to 10. A score of one is the best a fire department can have. The better a fire department's rating, the less customers may have to pay for home insurance.

Right now, Oklahoma City has two ISO ratings. The city receives a score of three for inner-city services and a nine for services on the outlying areas of the city. The fire department will announce at Tuesday's city council meeting that the nine rating has improved to a five.

This could potentially save homeowners in those areas big bucks on their insurance premiums.

Representatives at the meeting will explain how the city improved its score, but News 9 has been told it's due to improved response times, access to water and improvements to its dispatch center.

The Oklahoma Insurance Department will also have representatives at the city council meeting.

A spokeswoman for that agency says it is trying to help fire departments across the state do the same thing. Half of the state's 1,600 fire districts have an ISO rating of a nine or a 10.

"Many of them aren't really that bad, but for several reasons they have a poor rating," said a spokeswoman for the insurance department. "Some fire districts haven't been reviewed in 10 years, so even though they've made major improvements. They're still rated a nine or 10. We're really trying to increase awareness, coordinate training and improve the ratings to save homeowners money."

Not all insurance companies use ISO ratings to set their rates. Customers should call their insurance company to find out more.