GLEN ROSE – Beginning in March 2019, the Somervell County Fire Department will be operating with a Public Protection Classification of “2” for the city of Glen Rose and a “3” for Somervell County, and because of this, city and county residents could qualify for lower homeowner insurance premiums.

The Insurance Services Office, which grades on a scale of 1-10 with “1” being the best, delivered the news to Somervell County Fire Chief Mark Crawford in a letter dated Oct. 11.

“In theory, insurance rates should go down for everyone who lives within the parameters. This is our second request to be evaluated since I’ve been chief, and after that first time we got the score lowered, many residents called excited that their homeowner’s insurance indeed dropped,” he said. “However, insurance rates, in general, saw a significant rate increase due to the bad storm damage statewide; therefore, I’m told some didn’t notice.”

Crawford’s recommendation is to shop around with insurance companies after the new rate takes affect in March.

When the SCFD first started the project over 10 years ago, it was a “7” in the city and an “8” in the county, and now the number has improved dramatically with the help of multiple county agencies.

“I am very proud of the cooperation between our Commissioner’s Court and our other local government entities in this instance to have used tax money in the very best way to not only make us all safer but to able be help for our residents to see a financial return on that investment,” Crawford said.

According to Crawford, the latest grading improvement came after the Commissioner’s Court approved more paid firefighters so the SCFD could get better response times and to staff a second ambulance. Also, tough training requirements and minimum types of equipment had to be proven.

In the last few years, the department has received a series of state grants to help pay for a new fire engine, three brush trucks and new firefighting equipment, Crawford said.

“The new fire engine was $300,000 but ultimately only cost the county $65,000 with the grants received,” he said.

Crawford also credited the Somervell County Water District’s investment in new fire hydrants, as well as the improvements and overall ability of the Somervell County Sheriff Department’s dispatch in accounting for the better score.

The SCFD received the following scores: emergency communications (9.10 out of 10); water supply (30/40); fire department (38.42/50); *Texas State Training (2.71/3.26); *FSRS community risk reduction (3.79/5.5); *Texas Addendum Credit (0/1); Divergence (-1.45). Total score with *addendum credit: 82.57/109.76.

“Very few communities will ever get to where we are now much less a score of ‘1.’ We would have to add more stations and more paid personnel to get there,” Crawford said. “This may be possible if we continue to grow and become less reliant on the power plant.

“It took us over a decade to get where we are now, so we will just continue to stay ahead of that growth and be prepared.”

Through the PPC, the ISO grades fire protection agencies throughout the U.S. According to the ISO website, “a community’s investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses.”

It continues, “Insurance companies use PPC information to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance – generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection.”