Archive for Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Fire Department receives high inspection rating

November 14, 2001

Results from a recent inspection indicate the Fairmount Township Fire Department is performing at a high level.

Last week, the Fire Department received the results from the Insurance Service Organization of Chicago, from an inspection earlier this summer.

Out of 100 points possible on the inspection, the Fire Department received 51 percent, which is either as high or higher than several area fire departments.

Those results gave the Fire Department a class five rating, the highest rating a volunteer fire department can receive.

By contrast, in 1978, the Fire Department had a class 10 rating, which was the lowest possible rating.

"A five is as good as you can get with a volunteer fire department," said Fred Stitt, Fairmount Township Fire Department trustee. "To get a four, we would have to have a paid fire department."

The rating of the Fire Department is an important factor for Basehor residents and those residents in the Fire Department's coverage area.

The ISO rating affects homeowners when dealing with their fire insurance and a better rating could mean better insurance rates.

Some residents in the Fire Department's coverage area do not fall under the class five rating, however.

Those residences not within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, fall to a class nine.

Stitt estimated that 70 percent of the homes within the coverage area fall under the class five.

To combat the class nine for some homes, Stitt said more fire hydrants could be added in the future to help protect those homes under the class nine rating.

Some residents are adding their own fire hydrants, Stitt said.

"The residents of Timber Lakes recently put in their own," he said. "For some people, this equaled $500 worth of credit on their insurance."

The department addressed several key issues in the inspection.

To obtain the higher rating, Stitt said the Fire Department improved in areas such as water flow capacity and communications.

The purchase of a 2001 aerial truck also helped. The truck features a 105-foot ladder and a pump capable of moving 2,000 gallons of water per minute.

Communications and dispatching capabilities were also heightened when the Leavenworth County Justice Center was completed, making the ISO rating even better.

An example of the communications upgrade could be seen in May, when a fire destroyed the Cabinet Shop of Basehor.

The Fire Department is part of a mutual-aid program with other local departments and during the Cabinet Shop fire those departments were all dispatched to the scene, quickly.

"They all help one another when asked and we help them, too," Stitt said.

Also factoring into the rating was a project currently under way on 155th Street, where Consolidated Water District No. 1 is changing a four-inch water line to a 12-inch line.

This helps the flow rate along 155th and gives the Fire Department a better chance of dealing with a fire at Basehor-Linwood High School or homes along the street.

In dealing with insurance companies, the Fire Department is making a request of homeowners.

Under the Firefighters Relief Act, a certain percentage of all homeowners insurance goes to the state of Kansas, where it is allocated back into fire departments all over the state.

This money is not always sent to the homeowners' local departments.

For a homeowner to have their percentage sent to the Fairmount Township Fire Department, homeowners need to call their insurance company to have the money earmarked to the Fairmount Township Fire Department.

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