Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Partnership Leads to Reduction of Insurance Rates for Homeowners
10 Region, August 1, 2004
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A recent review of the St. Tammany Parish's Insurance Service Office (ISO) fire rating, which provides the insurance industry with information about risk, showed that the community assistance provided by Big Branch Marsh National Wildlife Refuge has significantly reduced the risk of wildland fires in the community. This resulted in a drop of the ISO rating in Lacombe's St. Tammany Fire District #3 from 5 to 3, and has resulted in possible savings of 5-10% on insurance premiums for home-owners within this fire district located just South of New Orleans, LA. The ISO insurance rating uses a 1-10 scale, and is based on equipment, volunteer or paid firefighters, response time, water availability, etc.

?This shows that when we work together to tackle tough problems, we can make a difference.? said P. Lynn Scarlett, Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Policy, Management and Budget. ?In this case, not only have we improved habitat for wildlife using prescribed fire and mechanical fuels reduction, but also helped reduce fire risk, resulting in savings for Lacombe residents with a lower insurance bill.?

St. Tammany Parish has historically been one of the two parishes in Louisiana with the largest wildfire occurrence. Since 1999, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at Big Branch Marsh NWR has partnered with the St. Tammany Fire Protection District #3 as part of the comprehensive fire program for the refuge. Over the past two years, the Service has provided the fire department with $10,000 in Rural Fire Assistance grants to equip and train the professional and volunteer fire fighters in wildland fire fighting techniques. Cooperative Wildland-Urban Interface projects such as prescribed burning and mechanical treatments have helped protect the community from hazardous fuels buildup.

No contact information available. Please contact Larry Dean, 612-713-5313, larry_dean@fws.gov
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