Katy Fire Department’s Improved Class Rating Could Mean Lower Insurance Bills

By George Slaughter

Mayor Chuck Brawner and Fire Chief Russell Wilson at a April 17 news conference announcing the fire department’s achieving a Class 1/1X ISO rating – George Slaughter photo

Katy city officials said Wednesday that Katy homeowners and businesses could save money on future insurance premiums thanks to a rating achieved by the Katy Fire Department.

The Class 1/1X ISO (for Insurance Services Office) came after the ISO completed and sent its survey, review, and results to Katy Fire Chief Russell Wilson. He accepted the results and forwarded them to the state’s fire marshal, who is expected to issue a formal approval letter next month to the Katy City Council.

As for insurance savings, city officials said insurance companies approach the ISO ratings differently. Some may offer immediate rebates upon the classification change becoming official. Other companies, meanwhile, may wait to adjust premiums at the next renewal period.

On the ratings, communities can score between 1-10, with Class 1 being the best. A Class 10, Mayor Chuck Brawner said, was “not real good.”

The city was evaluated in three areas: fire department (50%), community water supply (40%), and efficiency of emergency communications (10%).

With a 1/1X designation, properties within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or water supply suction point and located within five miles of a fire station are designated Class 1, while properties more than 1,000 feet from these things are designated Class 1X.

The rating puts Katy as one of 68 cities out of more than 1,500 in Texas with this rating. Nationally, Katy is one of only 300 out of 27,000 communities with this rating.

Wednesday’s news conference announcing the rating was at the new fire station, 25420 Bell Patna Dr., which opened last month. Brawner said the new station was a key to the effort. In October, he said, the ISO auditor was brought to the station site, which at the time was still under construction.

“It’s turned out very well,” Brawner said.

Wilson thanked the mayor and city council, along with fire department staff, for their support and efforts in achieving this rating.

“It took a lot of data and time for the clerical work,” Wilson said.

Before he became Katy fire chief in 2016, Wilson was assistant fire chief in Irving, near Dallas. While in Irving he worked to secure Class 1 ratings for that city, but came to Katy before that process was finished. Irving, and now Katy, has that rating.

Wilson said ratings are important in attracting and keeping businesses. When Irving had a lesser rating, he said, that city lost key businesses, one of which was the Dallas Cowboys football club, which moved its team headquarters to Frisco, 34 miles northwest of Irving and just north of Dallas.