Opinion: Claims about the Apalachin FD are wildly inaccurate

Dear Editor,

In last week’s Reader’s Column, someone made some claims regarding the Apalachin Fire District that were wildly inaccurate.

Specifically, it was stated that your homeowner’s insurance is going up by “$300-$400 because of the rating” our fire company received.  They also went on to state that our response times are “not up to par”. These statements are flat out wrong.

As of Feb. 18, 2020, the Apalachin Fire District and our dedicated volunteers have responded to 104 calls. We have covered 100 percent of every single fire, rescue, or motor vehicle crash dispatched.  ALL OF THEM.  We have covered over 90 percent of our EMS calls as well. And we’ve done so with an average response time from Dispatch to OnScene of 9 minutes. That’s an outstanding metric for a rural agency like ours.

Specifically, we have relied on the Tioga County Mutual Aid system for 13 EMS calls within the Apalachin Fire District during this period. Of those 13, three were because our volunteers were already out assisting your neighbor on another EMS call (meaning we were able to staff one ambulance that night, but not two).  That’s what the County’s Mutual Aid system is for.  The additional investment to chase that remaining 10 percent of calls far exceeds $100,000 annually and thus far, the cost/benefit ratio has not favored the additional investment when a viable alternative (mutual aid) exists.

Regarding the insurance ratings, this is more commonly referred to as an ISO rating. The Apalachin Fire District had our most recent rating published April 25, 2016. ISO ratings are typically done every ten years. Our result was a split 3/3Y rating, distinguishing those areas that have fire hydrants (like the Terrace) and those that don’t (like South Apalachin). The author’s claim is inaccurate in stating that we were rated an 8B (which is no longer used by ISO) and fails to recognize that the District actually IMPROVED our ISO ratings by TWO TIERS during the last review.  

The author was correct about a few things, that our supportive community taxpayers invest over $1 million annually in our fire district and that your Fire Commissioners do invest in maintaining modern equipment and safety devices for our volunteers. We also strive to be the most prudent stewards of your tax dollars as possible and to work hard at covering every emergency call for service we receive.

I cannot speak for every insurance company out there, but I can certainly say that if you are being charged on an 8B rating, you either don’t live in the Apalachin Fire District or your insurance company should update their records. And if you have any questions about our Fire District, my contact information is below.  


Brian P. Rieber

Chairman, Board of Fire Commissioners

Apalachin Fire District


(607) 765-2974

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