Lewis Griswold

Dinuba earns fire insurance upgrade

Dinuba’s fire protection classification number used by insurance companies to set rates is getting an upgrade from class 4 to class 2 starting in October, the Dinuba Fire Department said.

The city was informed of the upgrade by the Insurance Services Office, a New Jersey-based company that evaluates communities on their fire suppression ability for the insurance industry.

The new classification should result in lower fire insurance premiums for commercial buildings and, to a lesser degree, homes, said battalion chief Sean Doyle.

While Doyle said he expected the city would merit a higher classification, jumping two steps was a big surprise. He attributed the pending change to more firefighters per shift and improved record keeping.

“We were doing the stuff already, but data collection is where a lot of the improvements have come from,” he said.

Evaluators look at response times, number of firefighters per shift, trucks and equipment, dispatching, hydrants, water supply and other factors, Doyle said.

The Insurance Services Office assigns communities into 11 classes, with most falling in the middle and bottom classes.

Dinuba will become one of about 917 communities in the United States listed Class 2. By contrast, about 6,000 are Class 4. Fewer than 100 are Class 1, the highest level.

KIDS TO THE TREES: Youth groups can ride free on the Sequoia Shuttle from Visalia to Sequoia National Park.

The program ends Sept. 27 and is available to youth under 18, and adult chaperones.

A Kids to the Trees grant is covering costs. Church groups, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, summer school programs, community groups and even families can use the program.

Groups must have at least six young people and not more than 32 people total. Groups will be greeted by a park ranger and get a brief introduction.

Information: Jessica Blanchfield at (559) 454-9400, ext. 211 or email at jessica@archerandhound.com.

TULARE FAIR: The Tulare County Fair is seeking local entertainers to perform during the fair Sept. 16-20.

Application forms are available on the fair’s website, www.tcfair.org. They are due by Aug. 7.

Acts must be appropriate for all ages, and can include instrumentalists, dancers, magicians and more. Applicants should provide samples of performances, letters of recommendation and web site information.

COS SOLAR: A major solar energy project is taking place at College of the Sequoias campuses in Visalia and Tulare.

The Visalia campus will get a 285-kilowatt installation of elevated panels in a parking lot on the south side of campus, while the Tulare campus will get a 632-kilowatt installation on a ground-mounted tracker system.

Both should finish this fall.

The $2.8 million project should save the college about $250,000 a year, including solar incentive payments, during the first five years, and save an average of $266,000 per year for the next 20 years, according to Borrego Solar Systems, Inc.

Lewis Griswold covers news of the South Valley for The Fresno Bee: 559-441-6104, @fb_LewGriswold