North Tongass Volunteer Fire
Department Evaluated For Fire Service Rating
April 08, 2009
Fire tankers from North
Tongass VFD, Ketchikan Fire Department and South Tongass Volunteer
Fire Department lined up ready to start the testing in front
of the old veneer plant at Ward Cove.
Ketchikan, Alaska - If you were driving by the old pulp mill
site last Saturday morning (April 4th) you might have wondered
what was going on. Fire engines and water tankers were lined
up waiting for their turn for action. Since its inception in
March 2003 by a vote of the North Tongass residents, North Tongass
Volunteer Fire Department (NTVFD) has been working toward this
day said Fire Chief Dave Hull. "On this day NTVFD was evaluated
by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) to see how our firefighting
capabilities matched up to their standards and other fire departments
in the nation," said Hull.
Photograph by Dave Hull
The Insurance Services Office is headquartered in Jersey City,
NJ. ISO's Public Protection Classification (PPCTM) Service gauges
the capacity of the local fire department to respond if flames
engulf a home or commercial property. ISO collects information
on a community's public fire protection and analyzes the data
using their Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). Then they
assign a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class
1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and
Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't
meet ISO's minimum criteria. This classification number is used
by many insurance companies to base their insurance rates on.
Under ISO ratings, the North
Tongass area is rated as a Class 9 for every structure within
five driving miles of a fire station and a Class 10 beyond that.
Currently 99% of the structures are within five driving miles
of one of two fire stations located in the north end.
Ketchikan Fire Department's
Tanker 3 off loading its 3,000 gallons of water into the drop
tank. Greg Brown is driving T-3.
Photograph by Dave Hull
Hull said, "Currently the South End enjoys a Class 5 anywhere
within a 1,000 foot driving distance from a hydrant and an 8B
beyond." Hull said STVFD was also evaluated this last week
in a bid to better their Class 5 rating. Chief Davis and his
crew have been working equally hard on their testing said Hull.
The city of Ketchikan is a Class 4. Hull said the NTVFD expects
to improve upon its current Class 9 rating, but the final result
will not be known until October at the earliest.
Hull said, "Thanks need
to go out to the South Tongass VFD and the City of Ketchikan
FD for participating in this exercise with NTVFD. Their participation
factors very favorably in the calculations used to determine
our new rate." Automatic Aid agreements allow all three
departments to count one another's water tankers and enhance
their capabilities said Hull.
Chief Hull said, "A great
thanks also needs to go to Lt. Jerry Kiffer who spearheaded the
effort to make NTVFD ready to be tested." Evaluated were
a number of things, dispatching, record keeping, training schedules,
fire reporting, equipment, and of course the ability to deliver
water and trained firefighters to the scene of a fire said Hull.
Hull said, "It was a lot
of work and a good learning experience".
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