Source: Sherman Publications

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Lower twp. ISO ratings may reduce insurance rates

by David Fleet

May 30, 2012

Atlas Twp.-Township officials are confident that residents will have lower home insurance rates and outstanding fire protection.

According to township officials, following an extensive fire department audit earlier this year, an ISO rating of 5/8B was awarded to the township. Previously, the township's ISO rating was 9/10.

The ISO scale for fire protection ranges from 10 to one, the lower the number, the greater the fire protection. The ISO, International Organization for Standardization, is a network of the national standards institutes of 156 countries making a framework, or a common technological language, between suppliers and their customers. In the case of fire departments like Atlas Township, the ISO provides set standards for fire protection.

"This is huge for residents of the village and township," said Shirley Kautman-Jones, township supervisor. "There is still some possibility that some very outside areas of the township could remain a rating class of 9/10 because of their distance from the fire station and water source, and mutual aid versus automatic aid. But all in all it's great news."

Township Fire Chief Fred Forys said lowering the ISO was one of his goals since starting in 2006.

"The lower rate not only means a safer community, but also lower insurance rates for residents," said Forys. "From upgrades to equipment to new water sources to training requirements for firefighters—we've worked hard to improve the ISO rate."

"There's still room to improve," added Forys. "We'll put some new wells in the community—we have a study in on that now, factoring the cost for well drilling. The wells must be 300 gallon per minimum. We also plan to replace a 30-year- old tanker and hire and train an additional two firefighters—our number will be about 30."

Residents should remind their insurance company about the lower ISO rating, he added.

"The 1 mill for the fire department is up for a vote Aug. 7," said Forys. "Thanks to this community and Shirley Kautman-Jones, the funding has been there to help us move forward."