Argyle Fire District optimistic about safety rating

The Argyle Volunteer Fire District (AVFD) along with the Insurance Services Office (ISO) conducted an ISO survey of the district on May 20.

The ISO grade is used by insurance companies to determine insurance premiums for homes and businesses served by the AVFD.

The current rating from the last survey, conducted in 2006, is a 4. Final results of the new survey are expected within the next six weeks.

After discussion and reviewing the data collected with the ISO representative conducting the survey, AVFD Chief Mac Hohenberger said he feels the rating will remain the same or possibly improve to a 3 rating.

Having a lower ISO rating has an impact on property insurance rates in the district.

The new rating will go into effect immediately when released and will remain until the next survey is conducted five years from now.

The survey and the rating cover all areas served by the AVFD: Argyle, Bartonville, Copper Canyon, Corral City, Lantana and northern parts of Northlake. Also included are the unincorporated county areas served by the AVFD.

ISO’s Public Protection Classification system has been in use since the early 1900’s and has been continuously modified and refined over time. The Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) looks at a great deal of specific information about the fire department, the water supply and the types of property in the community and uses a fairly complex process to evaluate that information.

In general, here are the factors the Public Protection Classification system considers:

Water Supply: This is the single most important factor and accounts for 40% of the total rating. This part of the survey focuses on whether the community has sufficient water supply for fire suppression beyond daily maximum consumption. ISO surveys all components of the water supply system, including pumps, storage and filtration. They observe fire flow tests at representative locations in the community to determine the rate of flow the water mains provide. They also count the distribution of fire hydrants no more than 1,000 feet from representative locations.

Fire Equipment: This accounts for 26% of the rating. There are some specific minimum equipment requirements, specifications and additional equipment standards for both fire engines and ladder trucks based on the numbers and types of structures in the community. Regular testing of the equipment is also a factor. Four points of the 26 is the credit for distribution and is based on the percent of the built upon areas of the district which have an adequately equipped, first-responding engine company within 1.5 miles and an adequately equipped responding ladder company within 2.5 miles. Fire station locations become very important in the credit for distribution.

Personnel: This factor accounts for 24% of the rating. 15% of that is based on the number of firefighters available for the initial response and how quickly the firefighters can respond. ISO reviews the average number of firefighters and company officers on duty with existing companies. The other 9% reflects the initial and ongoing training the firefighters receive.

Dispatching/Fire Alarms: How well the fire department receives and dispatches fire alarms accounts for the remaining 10% of the rating. ISO will evaluate the communications center (in our case the Denton County Sherriff Dispatch) looking at the number of operators at the center; the telephone service, including the number of telephone lines coming into the center; and the listing of emergency numbers in the telephone book. Field representatives also look at the dispatch circuits and how the center notifies firefighters about the location of the emergency.

Texas awards up to five points extra credit for training, adoption of a model fire code, in-service inspections, staffing of the fire prevention and inspection office, plans review, prevention, public education and arson investigation.

For more information, contact Hohenberger at 940-464-7102.


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