FRENCH SETTLEMENT — Area residents should see their fire insurance rates go down as a result of Fire Protection District 8’s improved rating, officials said Wednesday.

The all-volunteer department protects nearly 4,000 residents in a 22-square-mile district in southwestern Livingston Parish, Fire Chief Alan Guitreau said.

For a homeowner with a house valued at $150,000, the cost of fire insurance should drop about $110 a year, falling to about $1,573, according to the Louisiana Department of Insurance.

Guitreau said the Fire Department was able to improve its rating by adding a large number of volunteers and by increasing its water carrying capacity.

When the department was last evaluated, five years ago, it had about 20 volunteers in service. That number has risen to 34, the fire chief said.

The influx of young volunteers, Guitreau said, “really bodes well for the future.”

The department is supported by a property tax and an annual fund drive, he said.

The rating for District 8 improved from Class 5 to Class 4, Guitreau said

The best rating is Class 1 and the worst is Class 10. A class 10 rating means an area has no fire protection, according to a release from the Fire Department.

“A variety of factors are considered in determining a district’s grading,” Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon said. “Everything from the number of dispatchers on duty to the number of firefighters and firetrucks, to the availability of water affect a district’s grading.”

Fire protection grading is done by the Property Insurance Association of Louisiana and approved by the state commissioner of insurance.