Contributed by Rick Korkowski
The Brandon Fire Department is pleased to announce that the Insurance Services Office, International (ISO) has recently evaluated the Fire Protection abilities of the Brandon Fire Department and have lowered the ratings for the areas in which the department provides services.
Through the Public Protection Classification (PPC) program, ISO evaluates municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. A community's investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses. Many insurance companies use PPC information to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance — generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection. Many communities use the PPC as a benchmark for measuring the effectiveness of their fire-protection services. The PPC program is also a tool that helps communities plan for, budget, and justify improvements.
Last summer ISO evaluated many aspects of the operational capabilities of the Brandon Fire Department, this included apparatus, training, prevention efforts, and response analysis. Additionally the water supply capabilities of the areas served by the department were also evaluated. The previous classifications are as shown along with the new classification, it should be noted that the new classification for the townships are for properties that are within five miles of the Brandon Fire Hall:
Water supply is probably one of the largest factors in a fire department’s ability to effectively fight a fire and accounts for 40% of the scoring in an ISO evaluation. Members of the Brandon Fire Department worked hard over the last several years to develop mutual aid relationships with the Garfield, Evansville and Millerville Fire Departments to assist in the delivery of water at the scene of a fire as needed. One part of the evaluation was a demonstration of the cooperative efforts of these departments to deliver an uninterrupted flow of at least 250 gallons per minute that could be sustained for a two hour period of time. This demonstration was instrumental in the ability of the department to obtain these lower ratings for the townships.
Fire Department Equipment and Operations also play a large role in the ratings. The department has been working for a number of years on updating its firefighting equipment. This includes the purchase of a 2005 Rosenbaum 1500 Gallon Per Minute Pumper with the appropriate hoses, nozzles and equipment necessary to fight structure fires. This pumper was an addition to the fleet, not a replacement. This means the citizens served by the department now have two complete pumpers available in case of a fire. Through the use of various grants over the last few years, the department has also been able to obtain other required firefighting and safety equipment including self contained breathing apparatus, personal protective equipment, and wildland firefighting equipment.
Training is another area evaluated by ISO. The department has made great strides in the development of its training program. Each firefighter must take the Firefighter I course, which is approximately 100 hours in length as well as First Responder which is an additional 40 hours. Additionally firefighters train throughout the year on various firefighting and first responder skills to in order to be prepared when the need arises. Members of the department also attend state sectional firefighting schools where new tactics and techniques are shared and trained.
Improvement of the Brandon Fire Department’s ability to provide a high level of fire protection does not stop after the evaluation was completed. With the generous contribution of the Brandon and Moe Townships, the department recently purchased a high volume portable pump which will allow for drafting water from many of the lakes available in the protection area. This has the potential to help reduce further the insurance rates of residents that live within 1000 feet of a lake.
Residents served by the Brandon Fire Department are encouraged to contact their insurance companies and inquire as to if the new ISO ratings of the department will have an impact on their insurance rates. It is important to realize that not all insurance companies utilize ISO information and may use other means for determining property insurance rates.