A Katy-area fire department received an insurance rating that could bring lower homeowner insurance rates for residents.

The Fort Bend County Emergency Services Department No. 2, which includes the Willowfork Fire Department, earned a Class 1 fire suppression rating Jan. 25—the highest available—from the Insurance Service Organization.

What it means

According to a news release, the rating, effective June 1, is scored on a sale from 1-10 with one being the best score. The scores are based on:
  • Fire department operations
  • Community water supply
  • Emergency communications system
  • Community risk reduction
Chief Billy Wilson said the most pressing issue the department had to overcome was staffing to meet the requirement for Class 1 ranking; although, he said the department has continued to improve by adding personnel since the department's last rating of Level 2 in 2014—the last time the department was rated.

What residents need to know

With the new fire suppression rating, residents within Cinco Ranch and surrounding areas could see lower homeowner insurance rates as insurance companies use ratings to determine premiums based on fire department response and community risk reduction, Wilson said.

“When a fire department achieves a lower ISO score, it means that your home is at a lower risk for serious damage in case of a fire,” he said. “The fire department, the water districts, fire marshal's office and communications structure have taken the appropriate steps to assure a quick response of fire equipment and appropriate water supply.”

What they’re saying

The department leadership, including the ESD board, has worked to dedicate funds and resources to assure firefighters can perform safely and effectively, Wilson said.

“The ESD board of commissioners and department management have worked together to ensure that every call receives a rapid response with highly trained professionals using state-of-the-art equipment to provide the best outcome possible,” he said. “Achieving this rating ensures that our department from the top down functions cohesively as a team, all striving to achieve the same goals.”

Next steps

The newly issued rating will last 10 years, but the department can request a rerating before that time if wished.