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Improved fire safety rating could mean lower insurance rates in SH area | Localnews

South Haven Area Emergency Services has announced that fire protection ratings have improved in the area served by the fire department authority.

The rating is important for people who have property insurance in that their rates could be reduced starting in March 2023, according to a news release from SHAES.

The rating is issued through the Insurance Service Office which periodically reviews communities, nationwide, served by fire departments to determine how quickly fires can be extinguished, given accessibility to water supplies. Ratings are based on 1-10, with 1 being the highest rating for effectiveness in extinguishing fires.

In 2016, the last time the SHAES service area was reviewed, it received a mixed Public Protection Classification rating of 4/6, meaning that certain areas of SHAES coverage area – such as the city of South Haven – had better access to water to put out fires – versus outlying areas, which received a 6 rating.

This year, however, the ratings improved to a mixed rating of 3/5.

The new rating could mean lower property insurance rates for area residents. SHAES is urging residential, commercial and industrial insurance customers to discuss the revised rating with their insurance carrier in March of 2023 to determine if they can receive a reduced rate.

“By securing lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection, the Public Protection Classification program provides incentives and rewards for communities that choose to improve their firefighting services,” said SHAES Executive Director Brandon Hinz.

“With the support of the communities we serve, the SHAES Authority Board has been able to increase staffing levels, expand our inspection program and broaden department training. These actions not only lower the risk rating for our communities, but also help SHAES to continue providing professional, comprehensive Fire, EMS and rescue services for Casco Township, Geneva Township, City of South Haven and South Haven Township.”

The areas SHAES covers that are in the new “3” rating are located within five miles of a fire station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant and includes the City of South Haven, along with parts of South Haven Township, Geneva Township and Casco Township.

The “5” rating areas applies to properties within five miles of a fire station but beyond 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, and includes most of South Haven, Casco and Geneva townships. A few properties within the SHAES district in Geneva and South Haven townships are classified as “10” because they are beyond five miles of a fire station.

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