Efficient and Cost Effective Fire Protection
Did you now Amherst has one of the most cost effective fire departments in the state? The Amherst Fire Department proposed budget for 2012/2013 is just over $500,000 which is 300 percent lower then the average for towns similar in size when compared by resident population and square miles. The average annual budget for comparably sized towns is 1.9 million dollars. When compared to similar towns based on taxable property Amherst’s Fire budget is in the bottom three with property value that exceeds similar towns by more than 400 million dollars. In other words the taxpayers are paying 300% less and the fire department has more to protect then similar communities.
Did you know your fire department is primarily comprised of dedicated volunteers serving the community with pride and spirit? This is the primary reason the budget is so low. AFD has two full-time employees and one part-time employee that manage the day-to-day operations, inspections, maintenance, permits and emergency calls. The remaining 36 personnel volunteer their time to get trained, certified, attend meetings and to provide community fire prevention education. When they respond to emergencies they respond from home or work and receive a modest hourly rate of $11 to $12 per hour. AFD Firefighters responded to 566 calls (1.5 per day) in 2011.
On averageAmherst firefighters volunteer for more than 100 hours of training and meetings per year. New volunteer firefighters attend 40 hours of probationary training to get them started. Within the first two years firefighters must attend 220 hours of state certified firefighter training in addition to regular training and meetings. They do this because they are proud to be members of the department and have a desire to protect, serve and give back to the community.
Did you know your home owners insurance rates are based on the size and efficiency of your Fire Department? The Insurance Service Office (ISO) utilizes a complex formula to rate the fire department’s effectiveness. This is called the “Fire Suppression Rating” and is used to calculate your insurance premium. If you live within 1000 feet of a fire hydrant your ISO rating in Amherst is a 4, if you’re more then 1000 feet the rating is 9. This is on a 1 to 10 scale with 1 being the best. The Amherst rating is the same or better then similar sized communities in New Hampshire. Next time you get a quote for insurance ask them what the ISO rating is and what it would cost if the rating was to increase or decrease. You may be surprised to hear the results.