Buda Fire Department earns Class 1 effectiveness rating

A national award honoring the effectiveness of Buda’s fire department could in turn lead to lower home insurance rates in the city.

Earlier this month, the Buda Fire Department (Emergency Service District No. 8) received a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Service Office (ISO). The rating is an accolade shared by only 300 fire departments in the U.S.; only 63 fire departments in Texas have earned a Class 1 rating.

The rating, which is used to measure the quality and effectiveness of a fire department, includes perks for property owners that include the possibility of lower insurance rates.

ISO is a risk management analytics company whose services are utilized by insurance companies throughout the country. The company collects information on fire protection efforts in communities to help establish appropriate fire insurance premiums for commercial and residential properties.

“This superior rating reflects the hard work and dedication of the men and women of the Buda Fire Department to maintain such high standards of fire protection for the residents of this community,” said ESD 8 Chief Clay Huckaby in a statement. “Earning this rating is a result of years of planning, obtaining and implementing key fire service resources in our community.”

Gary Langshaw, ESD 8 assistant chief, said Buda city officials have worked tirelessly with the fire department to add fire hydrants, staff and equipment throughout the years, which has led to the high rating.

“It is easy to climb that ladder, but work still needs to be done so we maintain this status,” Langshaw said. “We’re going to keep improving. Hays County is growing. Buda is growing. We have to maintain that status as we continue to get bigger as a city and county.”

According to officials, the rating comes from two areas – 50 percent of the evaluation comes from the fire department’s effectiveness toward fire safety, while 40 percent comes from the fire department’s access to water supply. The remaining 10 percent is comes from the efficiency of the department’s communication system.

Langshaw said the department went from a Class 7 rating to a Class 3 rating in 2010.

Buda Fire officials have since worked hard to move up the scale. The ratings are scaled from one to 10, with 10 being the lowest.

“As a result of adding fire personnel, minimizing response time and adding water supply, we are able to reduce the insurance rates for our citizens,” Langshaw said. “Fire safety and emergency response time are our priorities, but we are adding multiple benefits for the entire community with this rating.”

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