By Ed Fry
January 02, 2007
Understanding the ISO: The Insurance Services Organization rates the ability of fire departments to protect property from fire based on many factors, including the equipment, water supplies and personnel in a department's district. This rating is used by some insurance companies as a base for homeowner's insurance. An ISO rating of 10 is the worst, where no fire protection is available, while a rating of 1 is the best. Simply adding a third does not automatically change the rating; in fact there is a lot that has to be done to meet a rating and bring a rating up to a different classification. To better understand this, check out the rating system at: http://www.isomitigation.com/ppc/0000/ppc0001.html or call them at 1-800-444-4554.
Understanding the response to a fire; North Tongass VFD is well equipped and trained, but in order to do a fast attack on a fire, the department must follow a federal mandate of 2 in 2 out rule. Under the mandate, there must be a minimum of 4 certified firefighters (NFPA 1001 requirements) on scene before an interior attack can commence. Keep in mind that when a fire starts, it grows exponentially and doubles in size every 10 minutes. Coupling that with the federal rule 2 in 2 out rule; it could be argued that the fire will cause significant if not a total loss to the property before 4 certified firefighters arrive. The best way to knock a fire down before the department arrives is retro installation of home fire protection systems http://www.homefiresprinkler.org/hfsc.html.
Salary structure is too high. The current median salary for a Firefighter/Paramedic nationally is $35,000 to $55,000 depending on education and prior experience. This position is nearly double the national average with an EMT-II certification, not a Paramedic (MICP) license. WOW!
In closing, the proposal is a little premature for us at the north end. We should do some more number crunching as well as a feasibility study to see if and in fact there is a benefited need for our area.
Additionally, residents should be told the entire process of the ISO, it is just not a "poof" and the rating comes up, the process involves an inspection and interview of the department. It begs the question, are you getting more service with doubled fees?
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