YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Youngstown Fire Department’s insurance rating went down, which could eventually mean lower insurance premiums for businesses and homeowners.
Youngstown’s Public Protection Classification was officially upgraded by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) from a Class 3 to a Class 2 in June, an achievement 20 years in the making.
“There’s a lot of reasons to stay in Youngstown, and this is just another one,” Chief John O’Neill said.
This distinguished rating is held by only 1,060 fire departments in the nation. O’Neill says it’s a milestone for the City of Youngstown.
“We always wanted to break into that Class 2, which is a very distinct group in this country. Only about two percent of fire departments in the country have that rating.”
The ratings range from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst. It is based on several factors, including distance from a fire hydrant, speed of response, firefighter training and fire prevention education programs.
Youngstown Fire Department’s upgrade could also help attract and retain businesses in the area.
“Insurance companies out there that provide property insurance to both commercial and residential, that use ISO’s guidelines,” O’Neill said. “This may give our business owners and residents the opportunity to get a better premium on their property insurance.”
He says the new rating also displays the hard work of his team and how well they’ve done with reducing property loss since last being rated in 2011.
“Everyone really did a big part in that. It’s kind of a strenuous time when you’re going through that rating, a lot of work, a lot of extra work, but everyone put their best foot forward and it came out good.”
ISO’s evaluation comes every five years or sooner and if any substantial change occurs, then the rating can either go up or down. Those changes include things like fire department staffing, water distribution, dispatch capabilities, or the addition or loss of a fire truck or station.
The class change goes into effect November 1.