Fire class ratings in Yakima and Union Gap improves, lowering insurance bills

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YAKIMA Wash. -- People in Yakima and Union Gap may be a little safer than they were before, and this could save you some money.

The non – profit Washington Surveying and Rating Bureau or WSRB has recently improved the fire class rating for the city of Yakima and Union Gap.

Yakima’s fire protection class rating went from a 4 to a 3 and Union Gap’s went from a 5 to a 4.

Realtor at Almon Commercial Real Estate John Hodkinson says several insurance agents use this information to determine the cost of premiums, so as the fire ratings get lower the insurance premiums get lower as well.

He says this will benefit business owners the most but it will also benefit home owners.

“Yeah they will be paying less money and obviously now they will have better protection than they had before,” said Hodkinson.

WSRB reviews fire departments every five years and bases their ratings on fire department operations, water system capabilities, communication technology and fire safety control.

The rating uses a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 reflecting little or no fire protection capability and 1 signifying the highest level of capability.

Fire chief for the Yakima Fire Department Bob Stewart says the improved rating is gratifying given the efforts they made to improve every aspect of the department’s operations, especially their fire inspection program.

“Previously we weren’t getting out in the community and completing inspections on an annual basis. Now we have an adequate number of inspectors, we have a system in place where we’re taking care of those things,” said Stewart.

Stewart says the Yakima Fire Department placed a partnership agreement with Union Gaps Fire Department three years ago, so this has helped them improve together in areas they previously lacked.

Union Gap City Manager Arlene Fisher says the partnership has been a great enhancement for both cities, and the efforts in improving the ratings will make a huge difference for their commercial customers.

Union Gap city staff will be inserting flyers in resident’s utility statements with information about the new ratings so people can be better informed.

The new ratings will take effect starting March 1st, 2018.

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