Want to better understand a property’s fire risk? Get detailed fire hydrant data from HazardHub!

Want to better understand a property’s fire risk? Get detailed fire hydrant data from HazardHub!

Pat Ma

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The location and proximity of a fire hydrant to a property significantly impacts fire risk and severity – as well as an insurer's ability to accurately address property risk assessment and mitigate loss, accurately price policies, ensure compliance with fire codes, and promote safety. With that in mind, HazardHub has developed the nation’s largest database of fire hydrant locations in the United States.

As the most comprehensive database of fire hydrant locations, it lists over 11.6 million fire hydrant locations across hundreds of cities, states, counties, and water districts throughout the U.S. All this information is easily accessible via HazardHub’s fast and powerful Property Risks data API. HazardHub Property Risks also provides comprehensive property risk data for multiple hazards and perils such as wildfire, hurricane, and flood risk.

The Power of Fire Hydrant Data: Why Location Matters

Fire hydrant proximity to a property is the most significant indicator of the potential for fire severity and loss. Traditionally, this metric is self-reported and merely guessed at by the customer to the insurer. It is also often only a binary choice of under or over 1,000 feet to the home.

The time needed to establish a water connection by the fire department is one of the most critical determinants in fire severity and loss. Every second counts. For instance, according to a recent Guidewire study, a home under 250 feet from a fire hydrant burns with 9% less fire severity than a home located 250-500 feet away. The fire loss severity is nearly 2x less for homes located <250 feet from a fire hydrant versus homes located beyond 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant (or water source).

Given that structure fires represent upwards of 23.8% of an insurer’s claims expenses, according to the Insurance Information Institute, getting more accurate data on the fire suppression capabilities of specific addresses is a smart investment.

Complete the Data Picture of Fire Risk

The proximity of a fire hydrant is a vital component for fire suppression, but there are other ways to use fire hydrant location data to make smarter insurance decisions.

Risk Assessment: Homes located closer to a fire hydrant are generally considered lower risk, facilitating a more precise evaluation of fire risk.

Loss Mitigation: Immediate access to a fire hydrant can significantly enhance the speed and effectiveness of firefighting efforts, potentially reducing the extent of damage and, consequently, the claim payout.

Compliance with Fire Codes: Local fire codes often stipulate minimum distances between properties and fire hydrants. This information indicates compliance - or non-compliance - which is important to avoid fines, penalties, and potential claim denials.

Accurate Pricing: Improved risk data - including fire hydrant location data - positively informs the underwriting process and the premiums set. HazardHub enables more accurate policy pricing, benefiting both the insurer and the insured.

Safety Promotion: Insurers play a crucial role in promoting safety. By emphasizing the importance of fire hydrants and their proximity, insurers can encourage responsible behaviors that reduce the risk and impact of fires.

Critical Elements in Fire Risk Score

HazardHub also offers an application that automatically determines an accurate Fire Suppression Score for every address in the United States. You can learn more about this system in this HazardHub Fire Suppression Score blog.

The HazardHub Fire Suppression Score provides four critical underwriting elements - drive time to the nearest fire station, staffing type at the fire station, number of fire stations within a six minute drive, and distance to the closest water source - in a single fire risk score which is available on-demand through an API.

The most common fire risk score applications in the market rate fire protection of properties, in large part, based on their distance to fire stations. They do so mainly at the community level, giving all properties in an area the same rating. These models place an emphasis on the distance to fire stations with little consideration for drive time from the fire station to the property location.

The potential exists to make a much more informed and scientific assessment of fire risk based on the data points most highly correlated with fire damage to a property.

Interested in seeing HazardHub in action? Sign up for a HazardHub trial account to see all our data points and documentation. It’s free.