Bainbridge Island is measurably safer these days and that could soon save property owners money.
The Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau recently notified Bainbridge Island Fire Department officials the Fire Protection Class rating for Bainbridge has improved from a Class 5 to a Class 4, effective June 1.
It’s a noteworthy achievement on two fronts.
Fire Protection Class ratings are based on several factors, including the overall quality of a given department, its equipment, staffing, etc.; the condition, distribution and maintenance of fire hydrants and general water availability in the area; and the quality and abundance of fire alarm and communication systems.
Also, they are used by insurance companies to help determine premiums for properties, explained BIFD Chief Hank Teran.
The improved rating is especially great news for the community, he said, as in addition to an endorsement for the department it may reduce insurance rates for businesses and homeowners.
“The Bainbridge Island Fire Department has significantly improved its Fire Protection Class ratings over the last 13 years from a Fire Protection Class 7 to a Class 4,” Teran said. “Thanks to the community’s support, the Bainbridge Island Fire Department has made significant improvements to enhance staffing, facilities, operations, training, and fire prevention programs.”
Officials recommend property and business owners contact their respective insurance companies to determine the potential effect of this new protection classification on their premiums.
The adjustment is, in some ways, a fitting epilogue to a much longer tale.
The American flag was raised for the first time above the rebuilt BIFD Station 22 last year, marking the end of a years-long, multi-facility overhaul that effectively modernized emergency response on the island.
Bainbridge now boasts three fully staffed and operational fire stations for the first time in recent memory.
Island voters approved funding for the new, improved stations with a landslide “yes” vote for a $16 million bond in the 2015 special election.
The department has long enjoyed the emphatic support of local residents, Teran said, of which the ratings improvement was only the latest manifestation.
“[We are] pleased to announce that island residents and business owners may benefit from our new rating classification,” he said.