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  1. #1 Private Fire Crews In Colorado. 
    Fire crews for hire: Added protection during Fourmile blaze came at a price

    Wildfire was first in Colo. fought partly by insurance company firefighters

    By John Aguilar Camera Staff Writer
    Posted: 09/20/2010 09:57:07 PM MDT

    Among the more than 1,000 firefighters and 100 engines that responded to the Fourmile Fire, which broke out Sept. 6 in the foothills west of Boulder, was a contingent of 13 fully certified wildland firefighters whose mission it was to save a select group of homes.

    They drove five fully equipped engines loaded with fire retardant up Sunshine Canyon Drive and Sugarloaf Road, easily passing through heavily manned checkpoints and down smoke-shrouded roads, to their customers' homes.

    The homeowners getting the extra protection weren't secretly paying off local fire departments or federal officials for the special treatment. Rather, they were customers of Chubb, an insurance company that focuses on writing policies for high-end customers with high-value properties.

    The New Jersey-based company has been offering Chubb Wildfire Defense Services for the past three years to its policyholders in 14 western states, including Colorado. The primary goal of the service, which is part of a homeowner's hazard insurance policy, is to help customers create defensible space and reduce fire danger around their home.

    But if a wildfire should ignite and come within three miles of the home or prompt an evacuation from the area, Chubb will dispatch trained firefighters in certified wildland engines to the fire zone to protect customers' houses.

    The Fourmile Fire, which destroyed 169 homes and caused an estimated $217 million in damage, is the first Colorado wildfire in which firefighters hired by an insurance company worked alongside the traditional assortment of local, state and federal emergency personnel.

    Carole Walker, executive director of Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, expects the trend to grow.

    "As the wildfire threat has grown across the country, you're seeing these types of added protections crop up," she said. "It's another example of what insurance companies are doing to market themselves in a competitive marketplace."

    'Not a guarantee'

    In the case of the Fourmile Fire, Chubb's proactive measures were only partly successful. Three policyholders lost their homes while at least 10 customers' homes -- located directly in the burn zone -- remain intact.

    Company spokesman Dave Hilgen said the fire was so fierce and wind-driven on the first day that nobody was able to get control of it initially.

    "It's an additional service that helps protect homes," he said. "But it's not a guarantee."

    He said homes belonging to Chubb customers in other wildfire-prone states, like California, have been saved in past fires by company-hired personnel.
    This is fascinating. The Camera is a reliably slightly left-of-center paper (as is its readership). The comments are very interesting. While there are some who simply horrified by the "inequity", quite a few think this is a fine idea.

    Read more: Fire crews for hire: Added protection during Fourmile blaze came at a price - Boulder Daily Camera http://www.dailycamera.com/fourmile-...#ixzz10Gjmiyv5
    DailyCamera.com
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  2. #2  
    Senior Member Arroyo_Doble's Avatar
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    I was going to be glib about sandbags and flood insurance but actually, this seems like a good idea.
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  3. #3  
    Quote Originally Posted by Arroyo_Doble View Post
    I was going to be glib about sandbags and flood insurance but actually, this seems like a good idea.
    It does, doesn't it? We have some of the best wildfire crews in the country out here. Other states send their crews in to get trained here. They are very good but their objectives have pretty much nothing to do with saving houses.

    I will bet that you can only buy this insurance if you agree to create and maintain a defensible space and retro-fit your home with various fire-resistant features. Both of those ideas are relentlessly pounded into mountain property owners but only about 5% comply because it destroys the ambiance. The ambiance also ensures that their house will burn flat.
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  4. #4  
    Our widdle friend. Wei Wu Wei's Avatar
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    Privitizing a service leads to exceptional quality for a select priviledged few? Color me shocked.
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  5. #5  
    Our widdle friend. Wei Wu Wei's Avatar
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    They should privatize ALL fire departments, businesses run more effeciently while Government projects always LOSE MONEY.

    Sure maybe not everyone will be able to afford fire response, but if you have anything worth protecting from fire I'm sure you can afford it.

    Bootstraps people! it's the American Way!
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  6. #6  
    Senior Member Arroyo_Doble's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wei Wu Wei View Post
    Privitizing a service leads to exceptional quality for a select priviledged few? Color me shocked.
    Explain the difference between this and company's private security apparatus.
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  7. #7  
    Quote Originally Posted by Wei Wu Wei View Post
    They should privatize ALL fire departments, businesses run more effeciently while Government projects always LOSE MONEY.

    Sure maybe not everyone will be able to afford fire response, but if you have anything worth protecting from fire I'm sure you can afford it.

    Bootstraps people! it's the American Way!
    Really? I'm a Libertarian and even I don't have any interest in that idea. How about we just let people decide how to spend their own money beyond the taxes they pay for fire, police, emergency services, etc.?

    I don't know how it is where you live but plenty of people out here pay taxes for police and they pay an alarm service. The one doesn't diminish the quality of service of the other.
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  8. #8  
    Our widdle friend. Wei Wu Wei's Avatar
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    Why don't we just get rid of the taxes and let people keep their own money and pay for their own police and fire service when they need it? Let the people choose how to handle their own finances and safety, you don't think Americans are stupid do you?
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  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by Wei Wu Wei View Post
    Why don't we just get rid of the taxes and let people keep their own money and pay for their own police and fire service when they need it? Let the people choose how to handle their own finances and safety, you don't think Americans are stupid do you?
    We did that already and we decided to switch to a municipal system. Don't you read anything?
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  10. #10  
    Our widdle friend. Wei Wu Wei's Avatar
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    I learned all about privatized police from Robocop
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