BROOKVILLE — The Brookville Volunteer Fire Company reported it had earned five more points toward its ISO rating during the Brookville Borough Council meeting last Tuesday, bringing the fire company closer to a higher rating.
An ISO rating stands for Insurance Services Organization, which creates ratings for fire departments and their surrounding communities on a scale of one to 10, with one being the best possible rating. The better rating a fire department has, the better insurance rates will be for that area.
During Chief Chris Henry’s report to the council, he explained the company recently received its report back from an ISO inspection it had at the beginning of the year.
“The ISO rating is not going to change. It’s staying four, but the good part is we increased our overall total points the fire department can do from about 60 to 65. What that’s showing is improvements on the fire company, and what we actually made big strides on was our fire prevention and fire safety education in town,” Henry said.
He said a big part of this is the documentation and proof. He said they are striding to get the ISO rating up to a three, which will lower insurance costs in the borough.
This rating is based on fire protection, water sources, the equipment the department uses, and such. Fire Police Chief Michael Allgeier said the inspection was about four and a half hours or longer.
“You have to present documentation, plans, training, and maintenance,” Allgeier said.
The testing is done about every five years. The last one Henry knew of was done in 2014. The increase in total points for the department is good for the community.
“We were just in the cutoff line for four. Now, because of all the hard work we’ve done, we boosted ourselves five more points. We have a buffer zone now,” Allgeier said.
“And there’s nothing the fire company is going to be able to do. They’d have to get one heck of a grant in order to run new water lines up there. That’s probably one of the biggest things that hurts us, is that entire hill,” Allgeier said.
He explained the hydrants there can support a line for a residential house, but not for a building as big as the church. The water authority does do water testing and flushing two times a year, which is something major that helps boost the rating. The authority also automatically re-winterizes it if the department uses it.
“Its definitely a team effort throughout the town here,” Henry said.
The inspection also includes checking the fire hydrants, going to the 911 center and seeing their capabilities, and trucks and maintenance, training documentation. Henry said it’s a lot of work for volunteers. He said it takes a lot to raise an ISO rating, but his goals are to get to a three.
“We’re working hard at doing that and we’re going in the right direction,” Henry said.
One of the biggest problems is the water and Catholic Hill. There’s no water up there, and because of the church being such a major structure up there, it is a mark against the department.
The major congratulated the department on improving the ISO points at the end of the meeting.