Better rating for Buckley Fire Department, dollars are saved for residents

Buckley Fire Department

Buckley residents may soon qualify for a decrease in their insurance premiums, thanks to an improved rating in local fire protection services.

That bit of good news, which also applies to residents of Wilkeson, has been issued by the Buckley Fire Department, which provides firefighting services to both Plateau communities.

In short, when local fire departments are evaluated, property owners are generally charged accordingly by their insurance carriers. When departments are rated high, costs for property owners can drop.

Such is the case in Buckley, where the fire department was examined last August by the Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau. That nonprofit organization rates departments throughout the state, using standards accepted by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. The WSRB assigns each community a Fire Protection Class of 1 through 10, where 1 indicates exemplary fire protection capabilities and 10 reflects capabilities deemed insufficient for insurance credit.

Dating back as far as 1982, Buckley has received a Fire Protection Class rating of 5, with last evaluation taking place in April 2005.

With the most recent evaluation, however, things have taken a turn for the better. According to Fire Chief Alan Predmore, the city has been upgraded to Class 3, a change that becomes effective Feb. 1.

In Wilkeson, the Fire Protection Class rating has improved from 7 to 5.

“For many property owners this improved Fire Protection Class rating will result in an annual savings of the cost of their property insurance,” Predmore wrote in an email.

Predmore cited an example provided by a local insurance agent, where a Buckley property insured at $211,500 would qualify for a decrease of nearly $79 in annual insurance premiums.

Predmore looks at the big picture and sees significant dollars remaining in local pockets.

“If even only half of the 1,607 single-family residences (including duplex, triplex, and mobile homes) in (Buckley) receive this same reduction in premiums it returns $63,468 to the citizens in our community,” he wrote.