05/04/12 — Faro area homeowners to get home insurance break

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Faro area homeowners to get home insurance break

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 4, 2012 1:46 PM

Homeowners in the Faro Fire District could realize a 20- to 30-percent savings on their homeowner's insurance policies once the district's new insurance rating of 6 on a 10-point scale becomes effective on Aug. 1.

The state ranks fire departments on a scale of one to 10 (not recognized by the state as a certified fire department). The lower the number, the higher the rating. Most rural departments fall into the 9S category -- Faro's rating prior to the recent state review. The "S" is assigned to departments that serve a five-mile radius from their station.

While a lower rating does not necessarily indicate poor service, a higher rating does suggest that a department is overall better-equipped to respond to fires in its district, state officials said.

The rating was awarded following the state's recent routine inspection of the department. The inspections look for proper staffing levels, sufficient equipment, proper maintenance of equipment, communications capabilities and availability of a water source.

"Congratulations on your recent improvement to your fire suppression rating," Wayne Goodwin, state insurance commissioner and fire marshal, wrote to Faro Fire Chief Randy Gray. "I commend you and your department for your dedication and commitment to making your community a safer place to live."

Gray, a 24-year veteran with the department, said he asked state officials about the amount of savings on premiums and had been told possibly 20 to 30 percent.

"A man paying $900 drops down to $600," he said. "That is big in this day and time and economy. Proud, proud. We are next to the bottom budget in the county and we have the same rating as fire departments whose budgets are 10 times what ours is. Our district is a whole lot more rural than most districts. We are the second lowest fire tax in the county as far as money we receive."

While the inspection does not require departments to do anything special, it does require a lot of paperwork, Gray said.

"I am not really computer smart like the younger guys in the department," he said. "I had some of the younger guys who said they would help me. We got in there and got all of our stuff on the computer. We had everything in notebooks, but (the state) want(s) everything on computer.

"We had to present them a big notebook with all of the information in it -- training records, truck maintenance, truck pump tests, things that we do anyhow."

The Faro Fire Department was established in 1958 and currently has 22 people on its roster and two engines, a tanker and a brush truck.

The department serves a population of 460, a number that Gray said has not changed since he joined the department.

"We have to maintain what we are doing now as far as our records, keeping our trucks up and training if we maintain what (rating) we have," he said.