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Demopolis firefighter Justin King operates the ladder during a weekly safety test at the Demopolis Fire Department.
Demopolis firefighter Justin King operates the ladder during a weekly safety test at the Demopolis Fire Department.

Archived Story

Demopolis Fire Department improves on ISO rating

Published 12:11pm Monday, July 21, 2014

The Demopolis Fire Department, and Demopolis as a whole, improved on its ISO rating, falling just short of being a Class 3 department.

ISO rates communities and fire departments across the country on a 1 to 10 scale, and the lower the number the better the rating. ISO’s Public Protection Classification information plays an important part in the decisions insurers make affecting the underwriting and pricing of property insurance.

DFD Chief Tommy Tate said the department’s points in the system increased from 60 to 68.94. The ISO rating is done every five years.

“In 2009, we had a rating of 60, and we were able to raise that no nearly 69,” he said. “We’re only 1.06 points away from being a Class 3 department, and that would really separate us from other departments.”

To come up with a community’s classification, ISO looks at four major categories – emergency communication systems, fire department, water supply and community risk reduction.

Firefighter Daniel Whatley performs a weekly safety check on the Demopolis Fire Department's ladder truck.
Firefighter Daniel Whatley performs a weekly safety check on the Demopolis Fire Department’s ladder truck.

Out of 10 credits for the emergency communication systems, Demopolis received 7.75 credits. In 2009, Demopolis received 6.68 credits.

Out of 50 credits for the fire department, Demopolis received 30.48 credits. This is an increase from 29.38 credits in 2009.

Out of 40 credits for water supply, Demopolis received 30.52, which is up from 24.38 in 2009. The new water tower played a major role in the additional points.

Community risk reduction was a new category in 2014, and Demopolis received 3.26 credits out of a possible 5.5 credits.

“There are definitely areas we can improve in,” Tate said. “I would love to see us add a training facility, which would really help us. We have several instructors with the Alabama Fire College, and if we had a training facility here, we could host different classes and be a satellite training facility.”

Tate added that he wants to improve company and officer training as well as staffing.

“We’re limited in some things, but those things also count against us,” he said. “If we had a larger staff, we could have added a few points to our fire department rating. We’ve hit a lot of the small things, and now we have to focus on some of the larger things to become a Class 3 community.”

Tate said Brooks McCants, general manager of Demopolis Water Works, has done a great job to help increase the rating of the water supply category. He also said Marengo County E-911 did well in their evaluation, which helped increase the score from 2009.

“Overall, we have a very good department with some really good guys,” Tate said. “I’m proud of my guys for what they’ve done to help us improve. We have a good group of well-trained firefighters, and that makes a big difference.”

Tate also said the department works to protect the city and keep the citizens safe.

“We’re here to protect the critical infrastructure,” he said. “We have to make sure a small fire stays a small fire. In addition to that, though, we’re also trying to prevent fires through inspections.”

The department’s ISO rating will be reevaluated again 2019.

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