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Does our town need a ladder?

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  • #16
    We are considered a service center for a lot of rural towns for miles around.
    only aid to us would be manpower. Our population is 5300 and growing fast. Day time pop is easily double that. We currently run around 50 calls a year , no EMS.We have 2x 1000gpm pumpers, 1 tanker with 425gpm pump and 1 cube van that carries equipment and bunker gear.

    We have sereral bldgs with a large foot print, some are sprinklered. Hospital, schools, arena, malls, strip malls, food plant, office bldgs etc, A Big Walmart just went up, I expect the other's will follow.

    We have 3 bldgs that we cannot reach the roof.



    fully supplied with hydrants.

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    • #17
      I expect the other's will follow.
      May be possible to have some type of local ordinance/rule that as part of the new businesses coming to town, they have to put X$ towards the purchase of the equipment?
      "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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      • #18
        Originally posted by Bones42
        May be possible to have some type of local ordinance/rule that as part of the new businesses coming to town, they have to put X$ towards the purchase of the equipment?
        It can be done. The town just south of us has impact fees that a percentage of the fee collected goes to the schools, fd, recreation, other town agencies based on their capital budget plan. It is a standardized formula so that one developer does not get special treatment over another and a single family house project pays the per unit cost that a 40 unit project would pay or Walmart. We tried to have that implemented but the voters turned it down. I know that they have used collected monies for partial payment on their new truck purchases.

        Originally posted by Bones42
        Man, I'd hate to be part of department that decides their run responses/protocols based on ISO ratings.
        So you don't think some minium level of response is appropriate for a given reported incident? In my post before, I gave an example where a less than adequate response (Pickup truck) to a large occupied structure was not acceptable to ISO. (Nor I would hope to others) At a minimun they wanted 2 engines and a ladder to a reported structure fire. FDNY, Boston and I am sure many other large departments respond with much more apparatus and manpower than a minimum response of two engines and a ladder to similar reports.

        ISO would also like you to be able to flow the needed fire flow for the given building you are responding to. I can't believe that you are suggesting to not look at the situation and respond accordingly so..... What do you mean? There must be something else behind that statement for you to make it.

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        • #19
          Originally posted by GPM123
          We are considered a service center for a lot of rural towns for miles around.
          only aid to us would be manpower. Our population is 5300 and growing fast. Day time pop is easily double that. We currently run around 50 calls a year , no EMS.We have 2x 1000gpm pumpers, 1 tanker with 425gpm pump and 1 cube van that carries equipment and bunker gear.

          We have sereral bldgs with a large foot print, some are sprinklered. Hospital, schools, arena, malls, strip malls, food plant, office bldgs etc, A Big Walmart just went up, I expect the other's will follow.

          We have 3 bldgs that we cannot reach the roof.



          fully supplied with hydrants.
          Man, you may have your work cut out for you justifying it with only 50 calls/year. However, by what you're describing as the town's make-up I would think you'd benefit from some kind of stick, probably moreso a quint (especially if you're looking at replacing an engine).

          If you want to get the ISO info, have your chief give them a call and request the FSRS (Fire Supression Rating Schedule). They have them for sale online, but should send you a copy for free as a department. You can also request a copy of your last grade. If you really want to sell the council on it, insurance savings for the community is a good way of doing it. Thinking of which, do you guys use ISO in Canada?

          If you need to sell the department on it (as in "do we really need a stick"), I think your make-up and growth potential speak for itself. If you already have three buildings you can't reach the roof on, several buildings with large footprints, a Wal-Mart, etc., it sounds like you could definitely use one.

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          • #20
            Why did State Farm drop ISO?

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            • #21
              Originally posted by RedBaronl32
              Why did State Farm drop ISO?
              Purely speculative, but it's my understanding they use their own calculations based on amount of damage, etc for the department's responses to structure fires. So if a ISO class 5 department couldn't save a house to save their butts, SF could still charge higher insurance rates. The flip side of the coin would be that if an ISO 9 department can put a hellacious stop on fires, they're people would recieve lower insurance rates (for some reason I doubt that happens very often in the insurance industry).

              However, I was told at one time even though they and others don't use ISO, they all still subscribe to recieve the information. So, they're using it in some manner.

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              • #22
                What do you mean?
                That your fire departments knowledge of what they deal with and common sense would be better used to determine your responses than a for-profit business. Does your department really think a response in a pickup truck is reasonable over an engine/truck? Somehow I doubt that. Who would be better at deciding what you need in your area? Your fire department or a company that is based out of NJ (that many NJ fire department's don't even consider as relavent?)

                Remember, to ISO, if you don't have a cutting torch to cut through metal doors and such, a thermal imaging camera is equivalent. I guess you can use the camera to beat through the metal?


                Also note, it's fairly easy to "beat" ISO ratings.....you just don't want to get caught. Step 1: Make up a lot of documentation on training that all your members took (whether they actually did or not does not matter, it just has to be documented) Step 2: On the 1 day ISO comes to look at your equipment, borrow all the missing stuff from neighboring departments so you get the extra points. Step 3: Make up documentation showing how you had your hose tested, pumps tested, ladders tested, etc. There are so many companies out there testing stuff, its not like the ISO rep would know the difference between a real form and a self made form.

                My favorite thing: You don't have to actually show that your FF's can do simple firefighting tasks or demonstrate a damn thing...you just need to have paperwork that says it.

                ISO is a bogus fallacy and rarely shows an accurrate depiction of the actual fire department. THAT is why insurance companies are finding other methods as opposed to ISO ratings. They simply aren't relavent.

                That is what I mean.
                "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

                Comment


                • #23
                  Originally posted by Bones42
                  Man, I'd hate to be part of department that decides their run responses/protocols based on ISO ratings.
                  Yes, and no.

                  A response protocol based on what is needed, AND ISO requirements,
                  would not necessarily be a bad thing. If I can lower my ISO by
                  adding the response of a third engine to a call at the local manufacturing
                  plant, in order to meet water flow - even if I don't plan on using it, that is
                  a good thing.

                  Using ISO requirements to convince the mayor that yes, we do need
                  (insert your need here) is a good thing.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Bones42
                    Does your department really think a response in a pickup truck is reasonable over an engine/truck? Somehow I doubt that. Who would be better at deciding what you need in your area? Your fire department or a company that is based out of NJ (that many NJ fire department's don't even consider as relavent?)
                    Just as an aside, ISO does make regional variations on its rating schedule.

                    Originally posted by Bones42

                    Also note, it's fairly easy to "beat" ISO ratings.....you just don't want to get caught. Step 1: Make up a lot of documentation on training that all your members took (whether they actually did or not does not matter, it just has to be documented) Step 2: On the 1 day ISO comes to look at your equipment, borrow all the missing stuff from neighboring departments so you get the extra points. Step 3: Make up documentation showing how you had your hose tested, pumps tested, ladders tested, etc. There are so many companies out there testing stuff, its not like the ISO rep would know the difference between a real form and a self made form.
                    You are correct. There are many ways to lie, cheat, be dishonest. Hopefully,
                    when it comes to doing this - someone on the department, city, etc would put a stop to it.

                    If not, to steal your comment, I would hate to be part of that department.

                    Originally posted by Bones42

                    My favorite thing: You don't have to actually show that your FF's can do simple firefighting tasks or demonstrate a damn thing...you just need to have paperwork that says it.
                    Insurance companies don't want this kind of inspection, otherwise, ISO
                    or some other rating company would provide it. ISO is strictly market
                    driven - if the insurance companies wanted an inspection to include the
                    quality of cooking in the fire station - ISO will rate it. It's all market driven.

                    Originally posted by Bones42
                    ISO is a bogus fallacy and rarely shows an accurrate depiction of the actual fire department. THAT is why insurance companies are finding other methods as opposed to ISO ratings. They simply aren't relavent.

                    That is what I mean.
                    No, again, its all about the Benjamins. State Farm STILL BUYS ISO
                    RATING information. They just use more information to come up
                    with their own rating. Because their compilation is different, it costs
                    State Farm less. Benjamins baby.

                    Lots of insurance companies still buy the ratings from ISO.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      State Farm left ISO because for them personal property insurance (Homeowners) is there loss leader, this is true for most homeowner carriers.
                      State farm is the largest personal property insurance company in the US. From what I read in the insurance journals their data base showed that the ISO strucutre of 1 to 10 was too general, and in some areas they where not getting enough premium based on the ISO structure becase the area had other loss factors, crime, weather, etc. State Farms formula takes in account the loss history for the entire area including weather losses, theft losses, etc. Thus you could have someone living in a protected area as defined by ISO (ISO 1 to 8), but State Farms rates would be higher than an ISO based company because it takes in account more factors to determine the class. The reverse could also be true. I don't sell for State Farm but this is how I remember the system explianed.
                      Last edited by FireRescue43; 11-28-2006, 02:42 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Exactly. State Farm bases their rating schedule on many factors, other than ISO. They still use ISO information - just as PART of their determination, not as the sole basis as they had in the past.

                        The Zip code based system in the rural world is a bit subjective also, as for
                        example in my zip code, there are 7 or 8 departments - which range from combo departments to all volunteer, from departments that have ISO 10 to ISO 5, with save rates all across the board also.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          Originally posted by Bones42
                          Man, I'd hate to be part of department that decides their run responses/protocols based on ISO ratings.

                          That is certainly the Bass-Ackward way of doing it, unless you know for a fact that you can save a tremndous amount of insurance dollars with a certain approach, and still get the desired result.

                          However, if you already know what you want or need in upgrades, they may be able to provide the right documentation or backup to your arguement to support your cause.

                          We all know you can find "stats" or "experts" to argue any point, so use 'em when it works.
                          Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

                          IACOJ

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                          • #28
                            Unfortunatly a lot of departments buy heavily into ISO, or in my case, the Louisiana Property Insurance Rating. Though my department is well run, all apparatus decisions are made regarding ISO. We run 2 service trucks, which are basically wasted apparatus, because the rating schedule says we have to. We own 56 SCBA, because the rating schedule says we have to, even though we average 27 members for a structure fire. I could go on ... but basically a lot of our hand equipment has been purchased because the rating schedule says we have to.

                            ISO, and it's cousin PIAl, are basically a scham that costs fire departments around the country probably millions of dollors a year. There must be a better way.
                            Train to fight the fires you fight.

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Back to the topic I posted.
                              I contacted ISO and they are sending me a free copy of the FSRS. I guess we will go from there.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                ISO is based on NFPA recommendations, so it's not like they're pulling this stuff out of thin air. The 2 & 1 response is from the low-risk response table in the Fire Protection Handbook. Table 10-2 to be exact.

                                I agree with Bones that some things don't make much sense in terms of equivalency but there aren't that many. They aren't really meant to be "equivalents" in terms of actual use, but instead equivalents in terms of the lives and property that could be saved using the equipment.

                                All of the ISO FPRS documentation, equivalency tables, and other information are available on their web site. But definitely if you contact then get a copy of your last rating so you can see where you're greatest chances for improvement are.

                                Bones is correct, it's really easy to throw the system. More and more are getting caught, hence the hoopla around Houston over some ISO scores. The question you need to ask is whether or not the jail time for insurance fraud is worth it. I've heard of people moving tarps and other hand tools from station to station. Looking at the relative points scale for ISO it's not even worth it to spend the gas to drive the stuff back and forth.

                                And at 50 calls a year you are in a very big uphill battle to buy a new aerial or quint. That's a lot of money for only a few calls. Auto M/A would be the best bet for right now considering you really wouldn't be leaning on the neighbors that often.

                                - Brian
                                Brian P. Vickers
                                www.vickersconsultingservices.com
                                Emergency Services Consulting
                                Westlake VFD - Houston, TX
                                Proud Member IACOJ - Redneck Division

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