“This is huge, especially for a volunteer department,” said Moab Assistant Fire Chief Phillip Mosher. “We are one of the few volunteer fire departments nationwide to have a rating this low.”
According to Mosher, inspectors from the Insurance Services Office (ISO), which issues the PPC ratings, performed an audit of the Moab Valley Fire Protection District in 2013, which led to the improved rating. It was the first one done in Moab in 10 years, although such an assessment can now be done every five years from this point on, Mosher said.
Mosher explained that the ISO’s fire protection rating system, which classifies communities on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the best, is based on three main factors. Fire department equipment and personnel account for 50 percent of the score, water supply accounts for 40 percent, and the remaining 10 percent is based on dispatch communication and alarm response, he said.
According to information provided by the MVFPD, out of a total of 371 communities served by fire departments throughout Utah, slightly more than one-third (34.2 percent) are in Class 5 and another 34.7 percent are in Class 6. Only 10.5 percent of Utah communities have a rating of 4 or better.
“We’re now right up there with the professional fire departments,” Mosher said.
“We don’t have to do this. It’s not a requirement,” Mosher added. “But it betters the community because it puts money back in taxpayers’ pockets. It’s a win-win situation.”
Moab Fire Chief Monte Curtis agreed. He said that commercial property owners are more likely than residential property owners to see lower insurance rates as a result of Moab’s recent rating improvement.
Local insurance agencies contacted for this story said that it’s too early to determine how much money customers could potentially save, as individual policies vary widely and are affected by a number of other factors.
Even so, agents and other employees at three different local agencies welcomed the news and congratulated the fire department on its efforts.
“It says a lot about the quality of our fire department in this community,” said Jim Markle of Markle Insurance.
Curtis and Mosher said the fire department’s goal is to bring up their score another 3.5 percentage points over the next five years, which could result in an even better rating of 3.
“That’s our goal,” Mosher said.
“If we did that, that could mean even bigger savings for homeowners,” Curtis said.
Fire department officials praised the efforts of local volunteer firefighters, and said the department remains committed to providing top-level fire protection and response.
“It’s all about bettering our performance,” Mosher added, citing the department’s ongoing focus on training, testing, and equipment upgrades. “The better we are at our job, the better rating we’re going to get.”