The Erath County Volunteer Fire Rescue has completed the first step to lower insurance premiums in rural areas.

The Insurance Service Office (ISO) has completed an evaluation of equipment and manpower and has rated the department as Public Protection Classification (PPC) of 9. In years past, the department was not rated. A rating of one is the best that can be received.

“The state has recognized an improvement in our ability to serve the unincorporated areas of Erath County,” Tab Thompson, Erath County Judge, said. “Our overall goal is to continue working with the state in future exercises that could produce an even better rating, which will ultimately lower insurance premiums in those areas.”

A letter from ISO states, “Most insurers use the PPC for underwriting and calculating premiums for residential, commercial, and industrial properties.”

“Out next step will be to complete the class 8B survey, which takes a deeper look into our training, manpower, and communications-dispatch setup,” Chris Cagle, fire services coordinator, said.

Cagle said with the current PPC of 9, residents may see more insurance companies writing policies in the area.

But Cagle said the department is striving to reach a PPC of 6, which could pull premiums down as much as $100 per year.

In order to reach the classification, Cagle said the department will have to demonstrate the ability to consistently pump 250 gallons of water per minute for two hours straight.

“That totals 30,000 gallons of water and our largest truck carries 3,000 gallons of water,” Cagle said. “That means we will have to shuttle water from the closest source to the truck doing the testing using tankers and a folding portable drop tank.”

Cagle said the department will determine how best to accomplish the task after the next classification of 8B is obtained.

ANGELIA JOINER is a staff writer for the Empire-Tribune. She can be reached at angelia.joiner@empiretribune.com or (254) 965-3124,ext. 238