Ketchum (ID) Mayor Defends Condition of Fire Apparatus

Following Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe’s claims that the ladder fire truck shared between Sun Valley and Ketchum is obsolete in terms of insurance considerations, Ketchum Mayor Randy Hall defended the condition of the vehicle.

“We would never operate a piece of equipment that isn’t safe,” Hall told the Mountain Express at the base camp north of Hailey for the Beaver Creek Fire burning west of the valley.

Hall pointed to the strong rating that the Insurance Services Office has given the Ketchum Fire Department. According to the ISO’s Fire Suppression Rating Schedule, ratings are classified into 10 categories, with 1 being the highest level of protection, and 10 being the lowest. The Ketchum Fire Department’s current rating is a 3, its best to date.

Both Hall and Fire Chief Mike Elle voiced their pride in Ketchum’s ISO rating because it allows the city’s taxpayers to more easily pay for insurance. Hall asserted that there is a major difference between a class 4 and 3 rating.

“It’s probably between a $500,000 to $750,000 difference just in the difference between a 4 rating to a 3 rating,” Hall said.

He also said that if the class 3 rating were ever in jeopardy, he would know it, and thus build the city’s capital improvement plan around those needs.

Elle also defended the condition of the truck, saying it’s inspected every year and meets all the National Fire Protection Association requirements.

While Hall acknowledged that the ladder truck needs to eventually be replaced, he also emphasized that he believes the current truck is still reliable.

“It can last as long as we maintain it to the level to which it’s maintained,” he said. “The thing about our fire truck is that it doesn’t have many miles on it, and it’s been well kept.”

Additionally, Hall said the Fire Department has a full-time certified master mechanic whose main priority is keeping all rigs safe for personnel to use.

Elle agreed that the truck needs to be replaced, but said he’s still confident that the current truck is safe to operate.

“It’s an older piece of equipment that is planned to be replaced,” he said. “The truck is fully in service in the city of Ketchum and our fire station. It meets all of the certification requirements and our staff fully understands that there’s a potential for mechanical issues because it’s an older piece of equipment.”

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