(Rick Hickman/American Press)
Last Modified: Thursday, July 31, 2014 12:39 PM
Starting next month, homeowners in the Grand Chenier area will see cheaper fire insurance premiums because of the fire district’s improved protection rating.
The fire protection grading for Fire District 9 in Cameron Parish has improved from a Class 6 to a Class 5. Mark LeBouef, district fire chief, said Wednesday that the improved rating was largely the result of firefighters quickly responding to fires, most of which are grass fires.
“We are keeping up with records and calls,” LeBouef said. “Some years we may have about three fires, or we may have 20-25. It depends on what Mother Nature gives us.”
LeBouef said about 630 people live in the fire district. He said the district is the largest in the parish, in terms of land.
“We don’t have many house fires because there is a lot of new construction after the hurricanes,” he said. “We may have one or two a year. Plus, the houses are not close together.”
The Property Insurance Association of Louisiana sets the ratings for fire districts, and the state insurance commissioner approves them. Ratings are given on a scale of one to 10, with 10 being the worst and one being the best.
According to the Insurance Department, the improved rating means a resident who lives in a home valued at $150,000 will see his or her annual insurance premium drop from $3,209 to $3,014, a savings of about $200.
LeBouef said the district has about 35 volunteer firefighters, including some from Fire District 7, in the Creole area. “We’re helping each other; that’s the only way you can do it,” he said.
He said new drivers must have 40 hours of driving an emergency vehicle, and that regular firefighters must maintain 12 hours of driving an emergency vehicle annually.