Fire departments save businesses money

A local government success story is developing from within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District as a result of the exceptional efforts

  • Feb. 12, 2016 8:00 a.m.

A local government success story is developing from within the Columbia Shuswap Regional District as a result of the exceptional efforts of the trained female and male firefighters, combined with significant investment in training, apparatus and waterworks infrastructure in several electoral areas within the region.

Commercial insurance premiums have reduced or will be reduced over the coming year in the community of Scotch Creek as a result of recent testing by the Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) with the Scotch Creek- Lee Creek Fire Department.

With the support of the Celista, Anglemont and Shuswap Fire departments, the Scotch Creek-Lee Creek Fire Department is the first to succeed at achieving the commercial Superior Tanker Shuttle Service (STSS) accreditation. STSS accreditation is awarded to fire departments that meet or exceed predetermined commercial water flow volumes and can sustain that ability to flow and haul water with multiple water hauling apparatus over a pre-determined period of time as required by the FUS.

There is a different water flow requirement for residential and commercial properties. The commercial properties have tighter distance requirements and higher flow rates.

Currently, commercial property owners who pay property insurance pay premiums based on their level of fire protection.

Properties that are within 150 metres of a fire hydrant and serviced by a responding firehall that is within five kilometres of their business pay the lowest premium.

Commercial property owners who do not have a fire hydrant within 150 metres often pay a greater amount in premiums.

With STSS commercial accreditation, the FUS advises the insurers that commercial property owners within the 5-km threshold and within 2.5 km of a recognized water supply source, who are serviced by an accredited firehall are eligible to receive ‘hydrant-protected’ rates because the capacity of the fire department to deliver water to an incident is equivalent to having a fire hydrant within 150m.

The previous STSS accreditation in 2014, on the residential lines of service, has resulted in significant premium savings for residents.

As an example, one resident in the Scotch Creek area, whose home has a replacement value of $565,000, was paying $1,309 premium as a ‘semi protected’ property.  In 2014, once the STSS accreditation was completed, the premium for the same property was reduced to $680 annually.

CSRD Regional Fire Chief Kenn Mount is particularly proud of the members of the successful fire departments who made this possible and is setting goals that will hopefully see more departments achieve STSS accreditation in the future:

“The CSRD recognizes the benefits of investment in personnel and apparatus for fire departments within the entire region and is working together towards a goal of seeing most if not all of the fire departments achieve the STSS accreditation,” said Mount. “Further investment in apparatus, primarily additional water tenders, will be required for a few departments who currently do not have the STSS accreditation.  In addition, engineered and approved water sources, such as ‘dry hydrants’ will be required in areas in order to meet the FUS requirements,” Mount added.

A special appreciation goes out to the members of the fire service who went beyond their normal recognized training and practice times in order to be proficient and pass the test on their first attempt.

For more information on the status of the Fire Underwriters Survey visit www.fireunderwriters.ca.

Residents are encouraged to contact their local insurance broker to determine if their insurance premiums are affected by the newly achieved STSS accreditation by the successful fire departments.