The Northern Reynolds County Fire Protection District (NRCFPD) received a letter from Chicago-based ISO, informing the board that its coverage area will have a new Public Protection Classification (PPC) of 7/7X effective Feb. 1, 2015.
Currently, the district has a PPC of 9/10, the lowest possible rating which commonly leaves residents in the community with higher homeowner’s insurance than those in other areas.
The new rating is the result of nearly five years of upgrading equipment, recruiting and training volunteer firemen, and preparing for an official “survey” during which ISO personnel analyze the fire department’s ability to suppress structural fires within its sphere of responsibility.
The difference in ratings is in accordance with the distance from a fire hydrant.
Those structures in the communities of Lesterville and Centerville which are within 1,000 feet of a pressurized fire hydrant will be dropped to a PPC of 7. Those which do not fall into that category will have a PPC rating of 7X, which is comparative to a PPC of 9, the category assigned to most rural homes not within range of an immediate water supply.
The long process to getting the change began when what was once known as the Lesterville Fire Department sought, and received, a 20-cent property tax levy for fire protection over a newly-organized district that covers the communities of Oates, Black, Lesterville, Centerville and Redford.
In order to get the new rating, the department had to more than just buy equipment and recruit and train personnel.
The department personnel had to demonstrate during a mock-fire exercise that the department could respond to a fire within a specific time limit, connect to a workable hydrant, apply water to the site of the fire, respond with a tanker, then refill the tanker and return to the fire scene.
In addition, the department was graded on keeping proper reports, continued training of personnel, and testing the firefighting abilities of personnel on a regular basis, demonstrating how to handle structure fires, vehicle extrication, and hazardous material situations.
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