1. #1
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    Default Does our town need a ladder?

    I have been asked by the Town to conduct a Needs audit / Report. To identify if our town should look at a Quint or Pumper, to replace a pumper we now have.

    Is there a template I can follow, or how would you invision doing it?
    Thanks.

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    ISO has a model. Up here it was 5-6 residential buildings 5 stories or higher, and they recommend an aerial. We passed that mark a decade ago, and finally got our ladder about two years ago.

    We couldn't get squat done on our own, so we had an independent insurance industry contractor do a study for our community, and then gave the recommendations to the district. They met them all.

    Just one idea.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    If I remember right, ISO's requirements are 5 buildings higher than three stories, with a rate fire flow of 2,500 gpm, or a combination of the two (3 3-story and two with rated flow of <2,500 gpm).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch22
    If I remember right, ISO's requirements are 5 buildings higher than three stories, with a rate fire flow of 2,500 gpm, or a combination of the two (3 3-story and two with rated flow of <2,500 gpm).
    You could be right there...
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    I recommended the 3rd party Insurance route. Council does not want to pay that $$.

    Where would I find the ISO information?

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    Chief,

    Go to the ISO website at http://www.iso.com/products/2400/prod2404.html

    Okay, now to my opinion of whether you NEED a ladder truck or not.

    A ladder truck is of course needed to reach taller buildings especially when ground ladders of sufficient height are either unavailable or impractical due to weight and manpower issues. But another reason for a ladder truck is horizontal reach. Sometimes it isn't really how high can you reach but how far out can you reach.

    Let me ask you a few questions...

    Are you looking at a true quint? One with enough compartment space to carry a complete compliment of engine and truck tools? Or are you looking at what I call an enhanced engine? An engine with an aerial device on top of it. There is a major difference in both utilization and capabilities.

    If you get it approved get at least a 100 foot stick and somewhere between a 1500 and 2000 pump. Why? Because I said so damn it!! (chill out guys gpm123 and I are old friends). Okay now for a serious answer...100 foot gives you more options and allows your community to grow and not outgrow your aerial so quickly. The bigger pump allows you more flexibility in fire attack, allows it to fully supply itself, AND aids your ISO rating.

    Good luck my Brother....heck we are seriously talking along the same lines here for our next rig in a few years.

    FyredUp

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    We are expirencing some problems along those same lines as you fellas.

    We merged 3 separate departments into one about 9 years ago. We are an all on-call dept. covering 144 sq/mi. out of 3 stations. We have a roster of 50-60 personnel, who run approximately 1200 calls a year, in cluding MVA's and EMS, in an all rural area. Not to mention the mutual aid calls we run. In 9 years we have purchased 34 air packs (kept. the old tanks), a TIC, and replaced turnout gear (7 sets per year for the last 3 years).

    Almost forgot, we replaced a 1976 FMC tanker with a 1996 U.S. Tanker for $140,000. Nice truck don't get me wrong but, USED? WHY?

    Our newest apparatus is a 1997, which happens to be the most active engine in our fleet. Our Maintenance costs are through the roof. Our board of Commisioners can't seem to recognize the need to begin replacing these apparatus. I am looking for a suttle way to drive the point home that we need newer apparatus, with more multifunctional capabilities without loosing my job in the process. Can anyone help, or tell me I'm way out in left field with my thinking? I don't understand this bs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by skcfa1523
    Our newest apparatus is a 1997, which happens to be the most active engine in our fleet. Our Maintenance costs are through the roof. Our board of Commisioners can't seem to recognize the need to begin replacing these apparatus. I am looking for a suttle way to drive the point home that we need newer apparatus, with more multifunctional capabilities without loosing my job in the process. Can anyone help, or tell me I'm way out in left field with my thinking? I don't understand this bs...
    Cost-Benefit-Analysis.

    Examine the expense related to maintaining the current unit(s), and determine what that dollar value is.

    Then look at what the lease or financing rates would be for a replacement (don't forget trade-in or resale value for your current rigs). If they are close, you can probably swing it over with the political side of things. Reduced response times, improved FF safety, increased capabilities = More Lives and Property Saved. Don't forget to see if it will get your ISO rating improved too, which often translates to insurance $$'s saved.

    Lots of departments around here go used for high-end apparatus like ladders, but only if you have some handy FF's and a good town mechanic who can keep the units up. If not, you are just looking for excessive downtime and expense to ship the truck off to an authorized service center every year to keep up with the age related maintenance.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    You got me there sale's person LOL
    I don't know the dif between Quint and enhanced engine. Lets just call it an aireal device for now.
    I was on the ISO site for awhile but could not find a template to follow?
    I will have to tell what recognized standard I followed to reach the results.
    NOTE: If after the exercise it turns out we are ok with another pumper, so be it.

    I hear you loud and clear on the pump size and length.

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    I would do what benefits your fd the most and not what ISO says or recommends. With todays construction I'd rather put my people on a roof from a ladder truck but thats just my opinion. Do what best suits your dept and go from there. I feel if you tell your elected village officials that if you would go with a pumper instead of an expensive ladder truck just to save money and your fd could really use a ladder truck they'll expect that any time your dept goes to get a truck. Thats just my opinion. BE SAFE

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    Quote Originally Posted by GPM123
    I recommended the 3rd party Insurance route. Council does not want to pay that $$.

    Where would I find the ISO information?
    You may want to reach out to ISO directly. I do know that it has to originate from the Fire Chief or City/Town Manager or Coucil for them to reply. (So they don't get bombed with inquiries that won't be acted upon.)

    I also seem to remember the 5 or more 35feet or higher buildings is the suggested ladder purchase by ISO.

    I agree with FyredUp, If you got the big motor that most aerials will have/require.... big pump!

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    Look at your stats....

    How many times would a ladder run on reported/possible structure fires?

    How many times on alarms trips (which ISO does not actually look at), if you choose to run it?

    How many times in a typical year would it actually be used?

    How rapidly are the number of builds increasing in your area where a ladder may be needed? What do you forsee 5 years down the road?

    Is there a another department close enough with a ladder that would be willing to run automatic mutual aid to your structure fire calls. ISO will count aid if it is automatic.

    A ladder truck is a big investment, and has a high maintanence price. If you would use it infrequently, maybe you and a neighboring department could work out a deal where you might provide automatic aid in the form of an engine or tanker(s) for the response of thier ladder. They might appreciatte the opporotunity to use thier skills more frequently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
    Look at your stats....

    How many times would a ladder run on reported/possible structure fires?

    How many times on alarms trips (which ISO does not actually look at), if you choose to run it?

    How many times in a typical year would it actually be used?

    How rapidly are the number of builds increasing in your area where a ladder may be needed? What do you forsee 5 years down the road?

    Is there a another department close enough with a ladder that would be willing to run automatic mutual aid to your structure fire calls. ISO will count aid if it is automatic.

    A ladder truck is a big investment, and has a high maintanence price. If you would use it infrequently, maybe you and a neighboring department could work out a deal where you might provide automatic aid in the form of an engine or tanker(s) for the response of thier ladder. They might appreciatte the opporotunity to use thier skills more frequently.
    When ISO came to visit us last time the evaluator looked at our records and wanted to know if the ladder responded to the Reported Structure Fires. He also said a structure fire is a reported fire that is in, on or attached to a structure. (Chimneys, stoves etc are in or attached to a structure.) We changed our approach once we got a reliable ladder truck and I told the guys, more than once, "If it is in on or attached to it is a 2 and 1 response! (2 engines and the ladder) After a while they got it, and I heard "the Chief said roll the aerial until we know otherwise...." Fire Alarms are reported fires by the automated system.... So don't shoot yourself in the foot by your policies and procedures. One town I know of about 10 years ago responded to a "frequent flyer alarm system" with a pickup. As a paid department this did not fly with ISO and with the other issues they had they were rated a 10! The new chief had to fix a lot of stuff and get things running the way ISO expected to get the paid department rated better than "NO FIRE DEPARTMENT" that 10 effectively is.

    I also know that having another department respond with their aerial could effect their ISO rating so they may not be willing to put wear and tear on their "big investment" because you won't.

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    GPM--So what is the make-up of the construction in your town? Do you have several taller buildings (3+ stories) or industrial? I know ISO has been cited, which can be a very convincing tool when you start touting insurance savings to the city council. But there's a lot of factors others have listed in here.

    I'm kinda curious now just how you're town's laid out and all.

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    Man, I'd hate to be part of department that decides their run responses/protocols based on ISO ratings.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    We are considered a service center for a lot of rural towns for miles around.
    only aid to us would be manpower. Our population is 5300 and growing fast. Day time pop is easily double that. We currently run around 50 calls a year , no EMS.We have 2x 1000gpm pumpers, 1 tanker with 425gpm pump and 1 cube van that carries equipment and bunker gear.

    We have sereral bldgs with a large foot print, some are sprinklered. Hospital, schools, arena, malls, strip malls, food plant, office bldgs etc, A Big Walmart just went up, I expect the other's will follow.

    We have 3 bldgs that we cannot reach the roof.



    fully supplied with hydrants.

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    I expect the other's will follow.
    May be possible to have some type of local ordinance/rule that as part of the new businesses coming to town, they have to put X$ towards the purchase of the equipment?
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    May be possible to have some type of local ordinance/rule that as part of the new businesses coming to town, they have to put X$ towards the purchase of the equipment?
    It can be done. The town just south of us has impact fees that a percentage of the fee collected goes to the schools, fd, recreation, other town agencies based on their capital budget plan. It is a standardized formula so that one developer does not get special treatment over another and a single family house project pays the per unit cost that a 40 unit project would pay or Walmart. We tried to have that implemented but the voters turned it down. I know that they have used collected monies for partial payment on their new truck purchases.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Man, I'd hate to be part of department that decides their run responses/protocols based on ISO ratings.
    So you don't think some minium level of response is appropriate for a given reported incident? In my post before, I gave an example where a less than adequate response (Pickup truck) to a large occupied structure was not acceptable to ISO. (Nor I would hope to others) At a minimun they wanted 2 engines and a ladder to a reported structure fire. FDNY, Boston and I am sure many other large departments respond with much more apparatus and manpower than a minimum response of two engines and a ladder to similar reports.

    ISO would also like you to be able to flow the needed fire flow for the given building you are responding to. I can't believe that you are suggesting to not look at the situation and respond accordingly so..... What do you mean? There must be something else behind that statement for you to make it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GPM123
    We are considered a service center for a lot of rural towns for miles around.
    only aid to us would be manpower. Our population is 5300 and growing fast. Day time pop is easily double that. We currently run around 50 calls a year , no EMS.We have 2x 1000gpm pumpers, 1 tanker with 425gpm pump and 1 cube van that carries equipment and bunker gear.

    We have sereral bldgs with a large foot print, some are sprinklered. Hospital, schools, arena, malls, strip malls, food plant, office bldgs etc, A Big Walmart just went up, I expect the other's will follow.

    We have 3 bldgs that we cannot reach the roof.



    fully supplied with hydrants.
    Man, you may have your work cut out for you justifying it with only 50 calls/year. However, by what you're describing as the town's make-up I would think you'd benefit from some kind of stick, probably moreso a quint (especially if you're looking at replacing an engine).

    If you want to get the ISO info, have your chief give them a call and request the FSRS (Fire Supression Rating Schedule). They have them for sale online, but should send you a copy for free as a department. You can also request a copy of your last grade. If you really want to sell the council on it, insurance savings for the community is a good way of doing it. Thinking of which, do you guys use ISO in Canada?

    If you need to sell the department on it (as in "do we really need a stick"), I think your make-up and growth potential speak for itself. If you already have three buildings you can't reach the roof on, several buildings with large footprints, a Wal-Mart, etc., it sounds like you could definitely use one.

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    Why did State Farm drop ISO?

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    Quote Originally Posted by RedBaronl32
    Why did State Farm drop ISO?
    Purely speculative, but it's my understanding they use their own calculations based on amount of damage, etc for the department's responses to structure fires. So if a ISO class 5 department couldn't save a house to save their butts, SF could still charge higher insurance rates. The flip side of the coin would be that if an ISO 9 department can put a hellacious stop on fires, they're people would recieve lower insurance rates (for some reason I doubt that happens very often in the insurance industry).

    However, I was told at one time even though they and others don't use ISO, they all still subscribe to recieve the information. So, they're using it in some manner.

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    What do you mean?
    That your fire departments knowledge of what they deal with and common sense would be better used to determine your responses than a for-profit business. Does your department really think a response in a pickup truck is reasonable over an engine/truck? Somehow I doubt that. Who would be better at deciding what you need in your area? Your fire department or a company that is based out of NJ (that many NJ fire department's don't even consider as relavent?)

    Remember, to ISO, if you don't have a cutting torch to cut through metal doors and such, a thermal imaging camera is equivalent. I guess you can use the camera to beat through the metal?


    Also note, it's fairly easy to "beat" ISO ratings.....you just don't want to get caught. Step 1: Make up a lot of documentation on training that all your members took (whether they actually did or not does not matter, it just has to be documented) Step 2: On the 1 day ISO comes to look at your equipment, borrow all the missing stuff from neighboring departments so you get the extra points. Step 3: Make up documentation showing how you had your hose tested, pumps tested, ladders tested, etc. There are so many companies out there testing stuff, its not like the ISO rep would know the difference between a real form and a self made form.

    My favorite thing: You don't have to actually show that your FF's can do simple firefighting tasks or demonstrate a damn thing...you just need to have paperwork that says it.

    ISO is a bogus fallacy and rarely shows an accurrate depiction of the actual fire department. THAT is why insurance companies are finding other methods as opposed to ISO ratings. They simply aren't relavent.

    That is what I mean.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Man, I'd hate to be part of department that decides their run responses/protocols based on ISO ratings.
    Yes, and no.

    A response protocol based on what is needed, AND ISO requirements,
    would not necessarily be a bad thing. If I can lower my ISO by
    adding the response of a third engine to a call at the local manufacturing
    plant, in order to meet water flow - even if I don't plan on using it, that is
    a good thing.

    Using ISO requirements to convince the mayor that yes, we do need
    (insert your need here) is a good thing.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    Does your department really think a response in a pickup truck is reasonable over an engine/truck? Somehow I doubt that. Who would be better at deciding what you need in your area? Your fire department or a company that is based out of NJ (that many NJ fire department's don't even consider as relavent?)
    Just as an aside, ISO does make regional variations on its rating schedule.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42

    Also note, it's fairly easy to "beat" ISO ratings.....you just don't want to get caught. Step 1: Make up a lot of documentation on training that all your members took (whether they actually did or not does not matter, it just has to be documented) Step 2: On the 1 day ISO comes to look at your equipment, borrow all the missing stuff from neighboring departments so you get the extra points. Step 3: Make up documentation showing how you had your hose tested, pumps tested, ladders tested, etc. There are so many companies out there testing stuff, its not like the ISO rep would know the difference between a real form and a self made form.
    You are correct. There are many ways to lie, cheat, be dishonest. Hopefully,
    when it comes to doing this - someone on the department, city, etc would put a stop to it.

    If not, to steal your comment, I would hate to be part of that department.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42

    My favorite thing: You don't have to actually show that your FF's can do simple firefighting tasks or demonstrate a damn thing...you just need to have paperwork that says it.
    Insurance companies don't want this kind of inspection, otherwise, ISO
    or some other rating company would provide it. ISO is strictly market
    driven - if the insurance companies wanted an inspection to include the
    quality of cooking in the fire station - ISO will rate it. It's all market driven.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    ISO is a bogus fallacy and rarely shows an accurrate depiction of the actual fire department. THAT is why insurance companies are finding other methods as opposed to ISO ratings. They simply aren't relavent.

    That is what I mean.
    No, again, its all about the Benjamins. State Farm STILL BUYS ISO
    RATING information. They just use more information to come up
    with their own rating. Because their compilation is different, it costs
    State Farm less. Benjamins baby.

    Lots of insurance companies still buy the ratings from ISO.

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    State Farm left ISO because for them personal property insurance (Homeowners) is there loss leader, this is true for most homeowner carriers.
    State farm is the largest personal property insurance company in the US. From what I read in the insurance journals their data base showed that the ISO strucutre of 1 to 10 was too general, and in some areas they where not getting enough premium based on the ISO structure becase the area had other loss factors, crime, weather, etc. State Farms formula takes in account the loss history for the entire area including weather losses, theft losses, etc. Thus you could have someone living in a protected area as defined by ISO (ISO 1 to 8), but State Farms rates would be higher than an ISO based company because it takes in account more factors to determine the class. The reverse could also be true. I don't sell for State Farm but this is how I remember the system explianed.
    Last edited by FireRescue43; 11-28-2006 at 02:42 PM.

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