The process to earn its Class 3 rating started in January 2009 when Mitch Sagers, Fire Chief of Pierce County Fire District 3 (University Place) recommended the department contact the WSRB for an updated evaluation of its protection class which had not been done since 1994. The Board of Fire Commissioners voted to move forward and the department began preparing for the evaluation.The WSRB reviews hydrant status, manpower/staffing, facilities, apparatus, training, prevention/inspection/education programs, and communications systems to determine the appropriate protection rating.
In June, a Fire Protection Engineer conducted an on-site review and on July 13 the department received notification it would improve to a Class 3 (from 4) protection rating effective October 1, 2009. In general, homeowners in University Place will see little (if any) insurance premium reductions as Protection Classes 2, 3, and 4 are essentially grouped together. However, commercial customers may have some reductions in premiums. In any case, the department recommends that everyone contact their insurance carriers to check for possible savings.
The calculations involved in the departments rating reflect a 22% improvement over the 1994 evaluation. As a Class 3, University Place Fire Department joins Tacoma Fire Department and Central Pierce Fire and Rescue as the only other Pierce County fire agencies at this level. Remaining Pierce County agencies range in Classifications 4-8.