ISLAMORADA -- The independent company whose fire protection ratings are relied upon by insurance companies has upgraded Islamorada's Public Protection Classification.
In a Feb. 24, letter, the company ISO informed village Fire Chief Terry Abel that based upon a recent analysis, Islamorada's ranking had improved from 4 to 2 on a 10-point scale. ISO bases its ranking on numerous factors, including fire station and hydrant density, numbers of trucks and employees, and the quality of employee training programs.
This year's review was the first that ISO has conducted in the village since 2005.
Abel credited Islamorada Fire-Rescue's improved training regime and increased staffing for the improved grade.
Indeed, this year ISO gave the village's training program a ranking of 8.35 out of 9, up from a ranking of 4.5 in 2005. Staffing within the fire department, meanwhile, has increased from 23 employees in 2005 to 28 employees this year. The increase, though, has come at a cost. The department's budget is now $3.26 million compared with $2.3 million in 2005.
The ISO also determined that the fire hydrant network within Islamorada has improved significantly.
The village fire company received one of its weakest ratings for its ladder service.
Abel said he expects the upgrade to the ISO to reduce save money for Islamorada property owners.
"It should be a savings on their insurance, both residential and building," he said.
Agents at both Johnson and Regan Insurance companies in Tavernier, however, said the upgrade won't make a difference on homeowner polices.
"With a ranking of 5 or better, the prices are the same," explained Joe Roth of Regan.