Fire Insurance Rating
The Washington Surveying & Rating Bureau (WSRB) is an independent, non-profit public service organization that evaluates all Washington cities and fire districts for their fire protection/suppression capabilities. This evaluation is done using a rating schedule approved by the state Office of Insurance Commissioner.
A community’s fire protection system is comprised of many different components. The four major components of the community fire protection system; water supply, the fire district, fire safety control, and emergency communications (WSRB, 2013), are considered when the WSRB determines the fire insurance protection classification rating.
The community's fire protection system includes building and fire codes, inspections to ensure code compliance, public and private water supplies and fire hydrants, emergency reporting and communications, and the fire suppression capabilities of the fire district. WSRB provides credit for the fire district’s demonstrated ability to provide firefighting water supply using water tenders (fire apparatus with a large water tank and pump). Properties that are not within 1000’ of a fire hydrant receive a rating that is one class higher, for example from Class 6 to Class 7 (WSRB, 2013). In order to receive tender credit, the District must have the capability to respond to an emergency incident location within 10 minutes, develop a water flow rate of a minimum of 250 gallons per minute
(gpm) within 5 minutes of arrival, and the ability to sustain that flow rate for a minimum of 30 minutes (WSRB, 2013).
In the 2015 rating by the WSRB, both the Island County Fire District #2 and unincorporated areas of the District saw a one class improvement in fire insurance rating. Major factors impacting this improvement were collaboration with the District and water system operators to improved fire hydrant inspection and testing, establishment of an Interlocal agreement with Island County to provide fire inspection services in support of the county’s Planning and Development Department, and improvements in apparatus, equipment and tactical capability.
The WSRB public protection classification may have a significant impact on the fire insurance premiums paid by District property owners. However, it is not a full and complete assessment of the effectiveness, efficiency, and quality of services provided by the District. The WSRB does not assess emergency wildland firefighting, medical, rescue, or other services as they are unrelated to the process of establishing a rating for fire insurance purposes.