Fire audit could benefit township residents

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Prairie Township residents could see some more money in their bank accounts next year.

At a recent board meeting, residents were informed that the Prairie Township Fire Department has drastically improved its public protection classification (PPC). As a result, property owners may see lower insurance premiums in 2019.

“We recently had an audit by the Insurance Service Audit (ISO) and they evaluated our fire department,” said Prairie Township Assistant Chief Allen Scott. “During this audit, they looked at our emergency call services, the operations of the fire department and our water access.”

After the audit, fire departments are given a rating. The lower the rating the better because that means less risk. If fire departments have a low rating, then residents usually see a decrease in insurance premiums because there is less of a risk to their home. Insurance companies use PPCs to determine the severity of fire risk to properties they insure.

When the township last took the assessment, they had a 5/8b in 2011, however now the township has a score of 2/2y.

Scott said he believes the reason for this dramatic improvement is related to changes the department made since their last audit.

“After the 2011 audit, we added automatic aid with the City of Columbus Fire Department, allowing us to utilize their personnel and equipment as if it were our own,” Allen said. “We also contracted with the Ohio Fire Academy to provide online training for all personal and contracted with the Grove City Police Department for dispatching services.”

At the end of 2017, Prairie Township transitioned its dispatching services to Grove City because the township no longer had the budget, staff or resources to support internal dispatching, according to department officials.

The township pays Grove City approximately $211,000 a year for dispatching services. It cost approximately $331,000 a year for dispatching when the township was coordinating it internally.

Allen said this audit shows these changes were necessary and ensure the protection of the township.

“These changes are directly responsible for the much lower rating received during the most recent ISO evaluation,” Allen said.

Allen added that while he cannot tell residents how much they would save, he does believe residents will see lower insurance premiums.

“Both residential and business property owners often pay less for insurance if their fire department has a lower rating,” Scott said. “I am pretty confident you will get some good news in February 2019 when the new ISO rates go into effect.”

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