St. Paul's fire department climbs to better fire protection rating

Battling a challenging fire in St. Paul
St. Paul firefighters battle a fire at Stasny's Food Market Thursday, April 14, 2016.
Riham Feshir | MPR News

St. Paul's fire department said Wednesday the city has earned the highest fire protection rating in the state, and that may mean lower insurance costs for homes and businesses.

Previously, Insurance Services Office, Inc. averaged fire losses over the previous five years to arrive at a rating.

This time, the ISO performed a comprehensive evaluation of the city's fire protection capabilities, which the department said included firefighting, water supplies, dispatching and community risk reduction.

With the evaluation, the department says St. Paul is the first city in Minnesota to achieve a Class 2 rating. Insurance companies use this public protection classification for underwriting and calculating premiums.

"It's an excellent partnership with the fire department, the water services, the 911 dispatch center operated by Ramsey County and our political leadership at St. Paul," St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard said. "(They) all come together to provide robust and high-level fire protection to this community."

Zaccard said the new classification validates the work the department has been doing, but they are still striving to become the state's first Class 1 city.

"It won't take much more, I don't think, to get us to a Class 1," he said. "The study that was done, the results that were shown (to) us, will become part of our Fire Department's... ongoing strategic plan."

"I'm so proud of Saint Paul's fire department," Mayor Chris Coleman said in a statement on the department's Facebook page. "I've always known that the men and women of the department give us their best every day. This confirms it."

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