Polson city fire receives first grades since restructuring

Print Article

The City of Polson Fire Department held strong in its first insurance assessment since splitting ways with Polson Rural Fire in 2015.

“We didn’t get any worse but we didn’t get any better,” Polson City Manager Mark Shrives said during a city commission meeting last month.

Despite undergoing a major restructuring, the all-volunteer department retained an Insurance Services Office, or ISO, score of 5. Based on a scale of 1 to 10, with lower scores being more favorable, ISO ratings, used by many insurance companies to determine premiums for property owners.

Fire Chief Clint Cottle said that while he’s glad the department did not regress, the survey brought to light several areas for improvement.

Cottle said the department can easily boost future scores by establishing a track record for maintenance operations. Having recently become an independent force, Cottle said the department hasn’t had the opportunity to amass reports of hose checks and other practices.

The department was also marked down in the training category – an area Cottle said he expects to improve greatly with the construction of a dedicated facility later this spring. Like most departments in the area, Cottle said city firefighters currently have to scrounge for places to hold practice sessions. He said the department is in the process of securing funding for a new training facility behind the Polson Skate Park, with construction anticipated to begin in the next few months.

Another easy fix involves establishing an automatic mutual aid agreement between neighboring departments. According to ISO standards, the department’s coverage area warrants the need for another engine company. But with new fire trucks costing around $500,000, Cottle said enlisting the help of neighboring crews offers a much cheaper alternative. Under the agreement, which would trigger a call for mutual aid for every structure fire, participating departments are able to claim each other’s equipment during rating reviews.

Combined, Cottle said he hopes the efforts can improve the department’s scores during the next assessment cycle in three years.

Pete Bishop, a volunteer firefighter with the department and co-owner of Bishop Insurance Service, said that, depending on the provider, ISO ratings can have a direct impact on premiums.

While he stressed that improvements might not bring about savings for every homeowner, a movement in the opposite direction often carries negative implications, especially for commercial properties.

“If we go backwards, some people might have to go find a new insurance company,” he said.

As a 35-year department veteran, Bishop said the recent assessment shows things are on the right track.

“We were happy we stayed a 5,” he said. “Now we have a game plan to improve.”

Cottle reiterated this sentiment, and said he anticipates improvements the next time inspectors come around.

“This has been a great learning experience and we can use this as a blueprint moving forward,” he said.

Print Article

Read More

Legals October 19, 2017

October 19, 2017 at 5:00 am | Richard Bartos Bartos Law Office P.O. Box 1221 Helena, Montana 59624 e-mail: user882963@aol.com 406-431-2100 Attorney for Estate Montana Twentieth Judicial District Court, Lake County In Re the Estat...

Read More

Polson resident urges regular mammogram tests

October 15, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Lake County Leader Marret Christ-iansen didn’t know she was sick when she went to a routine doctor’s appointment in 2011. “It was at the very end of 2011 that I went for a mammogram,” she recalled. The mammogram, she...

Comments

Read More

Flying High

October 15, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Lake County Leader Unmanned aerial drones have become extremely popular and provide a variety of uses, from photography and video to military operations. For Carstens Surveying in Polson, drones are opening up new and ...

Comments

Read More

Polson officer recounts Las Vegas shooting

October 13, 2017 at 11:21 am | Lake County Leader Two jumbotrons situated on either side of a stage on South Las Vegas Avenue faded to black after a camera on one side fell. Music cut out and the artist, Jason Aldean, and his crew exited the stage....

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 883-4343
PO BOX 1090
Polson, MT 59860

©2017 Lake County Leader Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X