Lake Dillon Fire reports improved fire-insurance ratings
Lake Dillon Fire reported a marked improvement to fire-insurance ratings this month, possibly leading to lower insurance rates for property owners once the change takes effect at the beginning of September.
For residential areas across the county, the Insurance Service Offices (ISO) reported an improved rating from class 4 to class 2 on a scale of 1-10, with a class 1 rating meaning superior fire protection and a class 10 rating indicating ISO’s minimum criteria is not met. Dillon and Silverthorne improved from a class 4 rating, and Frisco, Keystone, Summit Cove, Wildernest and Dillon Valley improved from a class 5 rating.
ISO provides a different rating system for rural communities located more than 1,000 feet away from a fire hydrant, such as Bill’s Ranch and Ptarmigan. Both communities saw an improvement, with a class 2X rating.
“We take great pride in providing Summit County residents, businesses and visitors with a professional, well-trained, well-equipped, all-hazards emergency-response agency, and this ISO rating validates our efforts,” former Lake Dillon Fire Chief Dave Parmley said in a statement.
Two Summit County communities saw no change. Both Montezuma and the Lower Blue River areas received class 10 ratings due to being more than five miles away from a fire station. Lake Dillon Fire hopes to build a new station on the north side of Silverthorne in the future, which would improve fire response in the Lower Blue.
Lake Dillon Fire Public Information Officer Steve Lipsher said the improvements stemmed from better documentation of current practices, as well as cooperation with water districts and dispatch.
“Our communications center does a fantastic job, so we got a good number of points because of that,” Lipsher said. “We feel very much that we’re on a team. The dispatch center is kind of the nerve center for everything there.”
He added that Fire Marshal Steve Skulski worked with several commercial buildings to report sprinkler systems that had been installed several years ago but had never been documented.
Another measure that improved ISO ratings for both Lake Dillon Fire and Red, White & Blue Fire was the inclusion of education and fire prevention efforts in the rating. While Lake Dillon Fire has conducted several mitigation programs, including free wood chipping and home evaluations, the addition of this component significantly improved the district’s rating.
“We take these things seriously, and we want to provide everything we can back to our community,” Lipsher said. “It’s nice to be rewarded for that on the back end with better ISO ratings that will hopefully reduce insurance premiums.”
Reductions in Breckenridge
On the opposite side of the county, Red, White & Blue fire will see improved insurance ratings in Breckenridge starting this Tuesday, thanks to improved to ISO ratings in April. Red, White & Blue Fire saw an improvement to a class 2” rating for the town of Breckenridge, and a class 2X rating for unincorporated areas including Blue River.
“We’re constantly looking to improve that,” said Red, White and Blue Fire Deputy Chief Jay Nelson, adding that new ratings stemmed from changes to firefighter training, improvements in water supply and the inclusion of education and wildfire prevention to the rating system this year.
Lipsher suggested that both residential and commercial property owners check with their insurance provider to see if the improved ISO rating would bring lower insurance rates.
“I think it’s always a good idea to have an annual chat with an insurance agent and give as much information as possible as to what you’re doing right,” Lipsher said.
The improved ratings within Lake Dillon Fire District will go into effect on September 1.
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