HOW FIRE PREVENTION WORK AFFECTS INSURANCE RATES
Effective Fire Protection and Low Losses Earn Lower Insurance Rates
ALL firemen know, and others should be impressed with the knowledge, that fire insurance rates are based primarily on the fire losses over a given period. Credit in rates is based, to a large extent. upon the fire departments, their personnel, the facilities they have for combating fires, as well as the success they have in getting cooperation from the governing body of the community. A volunteer fire department, to be given credit in computing the basic rate in South Dakota, must be comprised of not less than fifteen adult men, all residents between the ages of eighteen and sixty, living in or near the city. These men must be available at all times. They are supplied with an approved set of by-laws.
Among the factors that have a bearing on the reduction of the insurance rates are: Best possible equipment for the firemen, proper fire protection ordinances, removal of fire hazards or hazardous business from the city limits, and a permit required before any building, or other combustible material, be erected or stored in the city limits.
All firemen’s programs should he encouraged, such as the State Fire School, and means provided for sending a delegation to these schools. Many new and modern methods are taught, and the information obtained by the delegates can be brought home and explained to the others who were unable to attend.
Firemen should sponsor Fire Prevention programs during Fire Prevention Week which includes the day of October 9, the date of the great Chicago Fire in 1871. Any serious fire hazards that have been neglected in cities, towns and country should he reported to the Fire Marshal, so that steps might be taken to correct the conditions.
As a result of fire, fourteen people lost their lives in South Dakota during the past year, which was four less than the preceding year. The property loss was $593,303.58. which was over $100,000 less than the preceding year. Even these figures are much too great, and it is hoped that a better showing can be made next year. According to statistics. South Dakota was second in the United States tor Fire Prevention activities in 1938. which is a splendid accomplishment.
War Against Carelessness
Eire prevention may be defined as a perpetual war against human carelessness, and every individual should combat fire waste with all the means he can command. Many towns in South Dakota are fortunate in having men for Chiefs of their volunteer fire departments who are leaders, organizers and diplomats. Towns having Chiefs of the above type are favored with the lowest basic insurance rates. A number of the other villages were able to meet the requirements of the Fire Underwriters Inspection Bureau by eleminating fire hazards and supplying the necessary water systems. fire equipment, and fire prevention ordinances.
There have been frequent inquiries as to how present insurance rates can he lowered. One answer is that a vigorous fire prevention program should be followed. Work should be carried on similar to the splendid work many towns are doing by electing competent men for Chiefs. men who will make frequent inspections of their respective cities, cooperate with city officials to keep the fire losses to a minimum, and follow recommendations until all hazards are removed.
Reports from a number of towns and cities show much time and effort were extended in Fire Prevention work, during Fire Prevention Week. The combined efforts of the Department of the South Dakota Fire Prevention Association. schools, churches, and civic organizations have all helped in this great work; they have cooperated more this year than ever before, according to the Fire Marshal’s records. Such efforts as made here will be rewarded.