City’s fire protection rating jumps; your insurance rates could drop

ARLINGTON – For the first time in over 30 years, the Arlington Fire Department received a lower protection class rating that will result in lower fire insurance costs for most homeowners, businesses and the community.

The Washington Survey and Rating Bureau lowered Arlington Fire from a Class 5 to a Class 4 rating after an extensive evaluation.

The bureau is a private organization funded by the insurance industry that audits 419 public fire departments statewide. Ratings on 10-point scale based on criteria such as emergency communications, water supply, fire safety control, staffing and apparatus are used to determine underwriting costs for fire insurance.

Arlington Fire Chief Dave Kraski said the lower the number, the better the rating.

“It may not sound like much, but to us in fire service it’s a big deal,” Kraski said.

It should be a big deal for many homeowners and businesses owners, too. The average homeowner should see a $75 break in their property insurance rates; for commercial structures, the reduction could run between $150-$250.

Lack of a fire training coordinator, inability to perform fire inspections and no public education/outreach program were a few items that worked against the department from jumping to a Class 3 rating. However, Kraski said that could still happen, when Station 48 opens near the airport and is outfitted with a fire truck.

A sizable portion of Marysville’s fire service area is Class 3, with Fire District 12 areas currently rated at Class 4.

The bureau evaluates departments every five years.

The ratings exclude industry giant State Farm Insurance, which uses its own independent process.

The new rating becomes effective April 1.

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