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Fire Dept.’s Good Rating Helps Get Residents Insurance Break

By ABC-7’s Marissa Monroy

El Paso, Texas – Your home and business insurance premiums are being calculated, in part, by a little known rating system of your local fire department. If your fire department’s ratings are going up or down, your insurance premiums may soon be following suit.

It’s all part of the Insurance Services Office rating, or ISO rating. Across the country, fire departments are rated on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the best rating and 10 meaning the fire department does not mean ISO’s minimum criteria.

“We’re one of 45 fire departments nationwide that can brag about having an ISO 1 class rating,” spokesman for the El Paso Fire Department, Lt. Mario Hernandez said. “We’re talking about 50,000 fire departments nationwide.”

The better the rating, the lower insurance rates are for taxpayers.

“Home owners and business owners can expect to save about 39 percent on their rates, compared with residents who live in the outerlying area, in the county,” said Roy Portillo, an agent for Allstate Insurance.

ISO rates departments based on water supply, training and equipment, manpower and the department’s alarm and paging system. El Paso fire officials also attribute the high rating to El Paso residents.

“Throughout the years, the people of El Paso have allowed us to purchase ambulances and new fire trucks, and of course to open up new fire stations as well,” Hernanez said.

Firefighters said the rating not only boosts recruiting efforts, but also morale among firefighters.

“Knowing you’re working with some of the best people and knowing that you’re part of the team, it’s like playing for a Super Bowl team,” firefighter Justin Garcia said. “Even if you sit on the bench most of the time, you’re like ‘Hey, I was part of that Super Bowl team.”

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