Thank you for your inquiry into the Superior Shuttle Accreditation (SSA) the Highlands is looking to obtain.
As you may have read in the pamphlet, with the addition of the SSA the Fire Underwriters will supply all Highlands residents with a letter to take to their insurance company that should help lower their fire insurance costs. This is due to the fact that most insurance underwriters see the SSA as a pressurized hydrant equivalency.
We have received a few inquiries and requests for more information and have compiled a FAQ list below. If you do not find an answer to your question, please feel free to contact me at 250-920-6970 or contact the District Office at 250-474-1773.
Q: I live across from a dry hydrant/standpipe so I won’t save any money will I?
A: While some insurance companies may recognize uncertified dry hydrants, most do not. Your best option is to verify with your insurance company that you are currently receiving a discount for the uncertified dry hydrant. If you are not, ask if the SSA will lower your premiums as it provides certification to the water shuttle abilities of the department and the water sources used to obtain the certification. For example, the water sources that we will be using have been certified to show that they will have a minimum of 125m3 (27,000 Gallons) whereas an uncertified hydrant could be into a small pond.
Q: I live only 200m from the fire hall so I already get better insurance rates.
A: Generally the proximity a fire hall is only calculated on a +/- 8km basis, where the homes inside the 8km’s receive a better rating than homes outside the 8km maximum. Homes within 200m, 1km, 2km, 4km and 8.0km all receive the same discount.
Q: I live by the East Fire Hall and it has a hydrant, so I already receive a discount for being near a pressurized hydrant.
A: The hydrants at the fire halls are not operational and are only for training purposes. Please advise your insurance company if you have used these hydrants for a discount as they are not functional and you may be improperly insured.
Q: Where are the pressurized hydrants in the Highlands?
A: The ONLY “pressurized” hydrants in the Highlands are in the Hannington subdivision (not on CRD water), the industrial park, and 2 hydrants on Millstream Road between Industrial Way and Hannington Road. All other hydrants you see in the District are not functional as pressurized hydrants (i.e. Fire Halls, 3300 block Munns Road, 1700 Block Millstream, etc...)
Q: Why do we need another Water Tanker/Tender to obtain the SSA?
A: To meet the Fire Underwriter requirements to obtain the SSA, the Fire Department has to flow 200 GPM of water at a mock fire scene continuously for 2 hrs with no interruption in flow and this water must come from a certified water source 5km away. Currently we only have one Water Tender located at the East Fire Hall that carries 2500 Gallons of water which would allow for 12.5 minutes of water at 200 GPM (if none spills out on the drive). The time it takes to drive to and from the water source, fill and dump the water is approximately 15 minutes, which means we would run out of water before the Tender was able to make the roundtrip. With the addition of a second water tender of 2000 gallons (10 minutes of water) we would have sufficient water to meet the required GPM moving between the fire scene and the water source. As well, the addition of a water tender at the West Hall would also provide more firefighting capabilities for homes in around the West Fire Hall which currently has no Water Tanker/Tender.
Q: Why don’t we just use our Mutual Aid partners to provide the additional water truck?
A: Unfortunately, our nearest mutual aid fire departments no longer have water tanker trucks as the majority of their areas are now serviced by pressurized water hydrants.
Q: Have you included the additional costs to maintain the new water truck and addition to the fire hall in this tax increase?
A (i): Yes. We have included the costs to maintain the fire truck and building addition for the useful life of both.
A (ii): In fact we have looked at truck replacement for all apparatus at a 20yr lifespan, the West fire hall replacement at age 55-60, and additional maintenance for everything until the year 2043. All of this could be funded through the additional fire tax increase in 2016 without additional increases in future.
A (iii): Part of the addition to the west fire hall would include removing the currently rotten and woodpecker attacked siding and installing new siding.
Q: I don’t see a savings with my insurance, how would this benefit me?
A: The insurance savings offered by the SSA is like a bonus to the tax payer. The real value of increasing the fire tax to allow for the addition to the west hall and a obtaining a 2000gal water tender is having increased firefighting capabilities, a post disaster fire response from both fire halls, and fire reserves to replace ALL fire equipment and fire halls without future fire tax increases.
Q: Why was the decision made to base the tax increase on land and improvement’s, instead of a per parcel amount?
A: In summary, assessed value of land and improvements was selected as the fairest funding model because the threat of wildfire and structural fires are equally relevant in the Highlands. This funding model is the base for all previous fire response and prevention funding decisions (consistent and fair). This approach is most fair for all future funding decisions (i.e. 70% of the proposed tax levy increase is directed to long tern sustainability funding for replacement of existing equipment and buildings).
Q: Why was a single axle tender selected as the best option for the Highlands?
A: The primary reason for selecting a single axle tender is that it only requires a class 5 license, which means all drivers in the department would be certified to drive the new tender. Whereas the existing tender is a dual axle vehicle which requires special Class 3 licensing and not all drivers have this certification. The smaller single axle tender would also allow access to areas where the larger existing tender may be too large to access.
Dean Ford, Fire Chief