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Lodi’s upgraded rating may lead to lower fire premiums

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Posted: Saturday, September 15, 2012 12:00 am | Updated: 6:39 am, Sat Sep 15, 2012.

An upgrade in Lodi's fire protection rating from a state agency could lead to Lodi residents and businesses paying a lower premium on their fire insurance.

The city received a 2 from the California Insurance Services Offices on a scale of 1 to 10. The city joins only 52 other communities in California who have received that rating.

For the last two decades, Lodi received a rating of 3. The system looks at the city's fire service, dispatch and water system.

"It's proof that we have an effective fire protection system, and one of the highest-rated factors is our water system," city spokesman Jeff Hood said.

Lodi Fire Department Division Chief Aimee New said the city received a 2 for firefighting capabilities, a 1 for the water system and a 4 on dispatch. She said the score for dispatch is likely lower because the city recently switched to providing the service in-house and is still adjusting.

The city was last rated a decade ago, and Lodi's new rating will take effect on Dec. 1.

For the city, the upgrade could help with the underwriting process with insurance companies and provide the department with tools to make fire protection improvements.

"This report provides a road map of where we are and where we need to go in providing a high level of fire protection to our community and the citizens of Lodi," Fire Chief Larry Rooney stated in a news release. "I am extremely proud of our professionals in the Fire Department and the high standards they have set and accomplished for themselves."

The fire service rating takes into account response times, how many people are on duty, the training provided and equipment on the department's vehicles, New said. The entire process relies on the department keeping comprehensive records, she said.

For homeowners and business owners, New said insurance companies will look at the rating of 2 as a positive thing, which could lead to lower premiums.

"They look at, if you have a fire in your house, how fast is that engine is going to respond? What is there water supply when they get there? ... It's all taken into consideration when they issue out their insurance premiums," she said.

Nationally, the city is one of 592 communities with the 2 rating.

"This was an overall team effort between the Fire, Police and Public Works departments," Lodi City Manager Rad Bartlam stated in a news release. "All have done a fine job in providing superior public service protection. This classification is something the whole city can take pride in."

Contact reporter Maggie Creamer at maggiec@lodinews.com. Read her blog at www.lodinews.com/blogs/citybuzz.

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