EASTON — Home insurance costs have been on the rise in the north part of town in recent years, and officials say they are taking steps to figure out a solution.

First Selectmen David Bindelglass said the issue of increased insurance costs is due to the Insurance Services Office rating given to the area. This has resulted in up to 30 or 40 percent higher insurance costs for northern Eastoners compared to the rest of the town.

“Houses and neighborhoods get something called an ISO rating,” he said. “Insurers use it to determine the ability of municipalities to fight fires in that neighborhood or that piece of property.”

The northern part of town’s rating is 9, compared to the 5 rating generally seen elsewhere in Easton, Bindelglass said, adding you want the lower number on the scale of 1 to 10.

Bindelglass said those ratings are based on a number of different factors, including historical fire response times and how far a neighborhood is from a firehouse. He said the town has tried to figure out how to raise the ISO score for years, noting the issue predates his time as Easton’s leader.

“Whether it’s building a second firehouse closer or adding additional equipment like a tanker truck, but we’ve never gotten a good answer as to what we really needed to do,” he said.

The town’s one firehouse is located on Center Road.

Bindelglass said the insurance costs in northern Easton are much greater than what is being seen in other parts of town.

Steve Waugh, the former chief and current first assistant chief of the Easton Volunteer Fire Company, said the town is working with a consultant and the ISO to improve the ratings in Easton, but declined to discuss the issue further.

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Bindelglass said the town hired Emergency Services Consulting International for approximately $50,000 to review the town’s overall emergency services — everything from the relationship between fire and emergency medical services to utilization of space and communications.

“We’re having a comprehensive review of, basically, how we do emergency services in town,” he said.

Bindelglass said, they have asked the firm to figure out how to improve ISO ratings as part of that review. He said the company thinks it can help the town improve the rating just with paperwork.

“We have to prove that we can be there quicker, and because we have full-time firefighters we think we can,” he said. “That may be enough — without building firehouses and buying equipment — to improve the rating and, therefore, the insurance costs.”

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