After split-up, Barrington gets improved fire insurance rating

An imminent upgrade of Barrington's fire insurance rating is being hailed by village officials as validation of their fire department's realignment after the Jan. 1 split from the Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District.

Effective Aug. 1, the Insurance Services Office will upgrade the village's public protection classification from a 4 to a 2 — putting it in the top 1.5 percent of all fire departments in the U.S., according to the village

While it's less likely the improved rating will make an impact on homeowners' insurance rates, Barrington Fire Chief Jim Arie is encouraging commercial property owners to tell their insurance agents of the change.

The Insurance Services Office's classifications are based 50 percent on the resources of the local fire department, 40 percent on access to water and 10 percent on communications, Arie said.

Prior to Jan. 1, the village's fire department provided services for properties within the fire protection district, which covers 48 square miles in parts of Barrington Hills, Lake Barrington, South Barrington, Inverness and unincorporated Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. With the split, the fire protection district formed its own department to serve those areas.

As a result, Barrington's fire department no longer covers large areas outside the village that don't have fire hydrants.

Barrington officials say the upgraded rating also attests to the reconfigured fire department's ability to do its job competently.

“We have the right personnel, we have the right equipment,” Barrington Trustee Paul Hunt said.

In a related matter this week, village officials approved an automatic-aid agreement with the Cary Fire Protection District. The agreement lays out what types of assistance and when the departments will assist one another in the event of a structure fire or other emergency.

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