Fire district patrons may see a decrease in their fire insurance following a recent assessment that lowered JCFD's rating.

HOLLY M. GILL - The Jefferson County Fire District has improved its safety rating, which may result in reduced fire insurance rates for patrons.As part of a recent assessment of the Jefferson County Fire District's fire protection ability, Insurance Services Office has improved the district's rating, which will result in lower fire insurance rates for district residents.

In 2017, the district was rerated by ISO, which uses a rating system from 1-10, with a rating of a 1 considered elite, and a 10, not effectively protected.

"As fire chief for the last five years, I am proud to announce through hard work, the fire district has lowered the district's fire protection ratings from a 5/8B to a 3 for any property within five road miles of our two fire stations," said Brian Huff, JCFD chief.

"Jefferson County Fire District No. 1 has worked very hard to provide the best service and value for the small permanent tax rate ($1.1847 per $1,000 of assessed value) that is levied on each assessable property within the fire district," said Huff, citing the example of a $200,000 home, which would pay $237 a year for fire protection.

The evaluations by the Insurance Services Office are conducted every four to five years, collecting information to evaluate public fire protection.

"Information on municipal services helps the communities with their efforts to manage and mitigate their risk," said Huff. "They perform the evaluations as a service to the insurance industry and do not charge a fee to the communities."

Through the Public Protection Classification Program, ISO evaluates municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States.

A community's investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses, he indicated. "So insurance companies use the Public Protection Classification information to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance — generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection."

"Many communities use the PPC as a benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of their fire-protection services," said Huff. "The PPC program is also a tool that helps communities plan for, budget, and justify improvements."

"We could not have accomplished this without the commitment by our volunteers to attend many hours of their free time away from family and friends attending training and of course responding to emergencies," Huff added. "We also could not have accomplished this without the excellent partnership with Deschutes Valley Water District, who is the main water purveyor for our fire district. The cities of Madras, Metolius and Culver are also excellent partners with fire hydrant maintenance, public education, fire protection engineering and fire code enforcement."

If you live within five road miles of a Jefferson County Fire District fire station, Huff advises that you should contact your insurance company and request that they rerate your fire insurance premiums.

"You should expect a fairly significant decrease in your rates," said Huff, who asks that you contact the fire district to let them know how much your insurance rate decreased.

Once again, Huff asked the public to be extra cautious during the solar eclipse event, since public safety agencies will most likely be extremely busy when people are visiting the area, from the week prior to the eclipse through the eclipse and its aftermath, from about Aug. 18-22.

"Keep your property irrigated, if possible," he said. "Mow dry vegetation as short as possible now. Keep water and a shovel ready for your property."

In case public safety responders are delayed or your cell phone provider is overwhelmed by cell phone traffic, he also advises that you have a safety plan in place for your family.

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