The department earned an ISO Class 3/3x rating effective today, November 1st 2018. The Insurance Service Office (ISO) rates fire departments and fire districts on there effectiveness, with a 1-10 scale. A rating of Class 1 is the best possible rating, while a rating of Class 10 means the department doesn’t meet minimum requirements from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) in areas such as staffing, apparatus, response/deployment, water supply, community risk reduction, and communications. This new rating is an increase from the ISO Class 5 rating the department had from 2010 to 2015, and the ISO Class 4 rating from 2014-2018.
The Public Classification Survey is the tool that ISO uses to grade the department, and it looks at several areas of fire department effectiveness. Adding an additional 13 full time positions to staff an engine 24 hours a day, increasing training hours over 155% in 4 years, and placing a second ladder truck in service in the south part of the city all contributed to the increase in rating. Also, adding additional consoles and staffing at Red River Dispatch, and a large scale water main looping project in the city helped to increase the rating. Our Community Risk Reduction Division also contributed to the increase in rating by adopting new technology to assist in biannual inspections of all commercial occupancies and reviews of all new construction in West Fargo to ensure compliance with national fire and life safety codes.
When trying to quantify what the rating classification means to the residents of the city, the best way is to describe the “true vale” of the department, using the number of parcels and overall value of property, along with an estimation of the cost of insurance on $100,000 of property with an ISO Class 10 Rating. Using this formula, then subtracting the cost of the department budget, which will be $2,250,000 in 2019, the true value of the department to the community falls close to $15,000,000 in total insurance savings, after the budget is subtracted. In short, if the department was an ISO Class 10 (not meeting minimum requirements) the combined cost to property owners would be around fifteen million dollars. These dollars are dollars saved today by the department, a direct benefit to the community.
In 2019, the department will continue the multi-year transition geared towards reducing response time, making our deployment as efficient as possible, and maintaining training standards to ensure safety of our firefighters and the community. Members of the department are extremely proud of this accomplishment and look forward to serving the residents and visitors of West Fargo.