Fire district improves rating

By Meg Olson

Following a visit from the Washington Surveying and Ratings Bureau (WSRB), the fire department has improved its grade, meaning property owners might see a break on their insurance.

The WSRB administers the International Organization for Standardization (ISO)’s Public Protection Classification program that ranks fire protection agencies from one to 10, with one being the best. The Point Roberts fire department’s rating has improved from a six to a five.

“Usually the lower the rating, the less insurance is for home and business owners,” said fire chief Christopher Carleton. “Everybody should contact their insurance company to ask about a reduction. It may or may not impact you.”

Carleton said the biggest reason the rating had improved from the last evaluation 10 years ago  was personnel. “Since 2012, I’ve added 15 certified firefighters to the roster,” he said. “The more trained and certified firefighters you have, the more responders, the better your score is.”

Carleton said they had identified a number of areas they could get more points in their next evaluation, from more thorough training records to annual weighing of apparatus. The district will also start a business and residential safety check program. “That could get us a lot of points,” Carleton said.

Keeping apparatus current will be a challenge. “The older your apparatus are the less potential you have for a good score,” Carleton said, with apparatus older than 25 having a significant impact. The department’s engines are now 21 and 24 years old. “In 2020 when we have our next evaluation both engines will be over 25.”

Carleton said they would begin discussing a 25-year fleet replacement program.

“I’m optimistic working on all these factors we have a very good run at getting us down to a 4 in 2020,” he said.

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