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Elgin Fire Department rating lowers home owner's insurance

ELGIN, Okla._It seems like the cost of everything continues to go up these days, but for Elgin residents they'll soon be getting relief when it comes to home insurance.

That's because recent improvements by the Elgin Fire Department has made their fire rating drop from a 6 to a 4. The rating is issued by ISO and is on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being the best. The better the rating, the more discounts the community can see on their insurance.

ISO is used to do an extensive report on all fire departments and then relay their findings to insurance companies. They check everything from past response times, equipment they use and how many fire fighters the department has. Usually they check every few years but the department knew they had made many improvements so they asked to be checked again.

When it comes to lowering those home insurance rates usually it takes things like living next to a fire hydrant, but in a community like Elgin sometimes that is not possible so it is the improvements the fire department has made that has them once again helping out their community.

"When everybody in this community's insurance drops 30, 40, 50 percent that is a huge savings and that's a big deal,” said Elgin Fire Chief Mike Baker. “We may be a little arrogant and know we are good or think we're good, but now the community is going to know it."

Baker says the only thing they get out of it is a lower rating and the real winners here are the Elgin residents. Home owner, Mandy Harrington, is excited about the insurance rating drop and says the department's work shows how they are a reflection of the Elgin community as a whole.

"That's kind of how Elgin is in a sense though. As a community, trying to help everyone out, so I think that is great," said Harrington.

Baker says he hopes this will also show people why they spend the money they do on the department.

"A lot of times tax dollars are spent and people don't understand it but when they see their insurance drop significantly they will understand why we have that equipment and why properties and lives are saved, because we are here," said Chief Baker.

Baker says they have 7,500 homes in their call area and a department their size averages around a 6 for their rating. They can improve from that 4 since the scale goes to a 1, but Baker explained in order to get any higher they would most likely have to hire a couple more fire fighters.

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