From Chief John Bacon
As an emergency provider we have an obligation and a sworn duty to deliver the very best in fire, rescue and emergency medical service available. We have been able to develop this tradition by the utilization of unique circumstances particular to our City that has allowed our activities throughout the years to be accomplished by what has been a volunteer personnel base. For a number of reasons this is no longer possible. The demise of our primary employer has ended a daytime manpower response that was central to this concept. Our community is indebted to the commitment of our part-time Fire and EMS responders and will continue to value their contribution. However, a changing social/economic demographic has vastly reduced the availability of ‘part-time’ or ‘volunteer’ personnel, a reality exacerbated by an ever increasing demand that responders in whatever discipline be better trained to be able to employ the best methods possible with the best equipment available.
The North Canton Fire/EMS Department has improved its ISO PPC rating to a 3 after its latest evaluation; the department underwent an inspection by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) to evaluate its Public Protection Classification.
The ISO Public Protection Classification Program plays an important role in the underwriting process at insurance companies. In fact, most U.S. insurers use PPC information as part of their decision-making process when deciding what business to underwrite, coverage to offer or prices to charge for personal or commercial property insurance. Insurance companies independently determine the premiums it charges its policyholders. The way an insurer uses ISO’s information on public fire protection may depend on several things – the company’s fire-loss experience, ratemaking methodology, underwriting guidelines, and it’s marketing strategy. ISO Personal Protection Ratings are based on scores that the departments receive based on a standardized evaluation criterion. The following categories are evaluated:
- Needed Fire Flows – which are representative building locations used to determine the theoretical amount of water necessary for fire suppression purposes.
- Emergency Communication – including emergency reporting, telecommunications, and dispatching systems.
- Fire Department – including equipment, staffing, training, geographic distribution of fire companies, operational considerations, and community risk reduction.
- Water Supply – including inspection and flow testing of hydrants, alternative water supply operations, and careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared to the amount needed to suppress fires up to 3,500 gallons per minute.
Each of the categories is weighted as follows; Emergency Communications accounts for 10%, Fire Department accounts for 50%, Water Supply accounts for 40%.
There is an additional factor that is considered in calculation of the final score, and that factor is termed Divergence. The Divergence factor mathematically reduces the score based upon the relative difference between the Fire Department and water supply scores. This factor is introduced in the final equation.
The last time that the department was assessed by ISO was in 2008. At that time, the department maintained its PPC rating of 4. Lower numerical scores are considered better ratings, with a range from 1 to 10.
Residents of Stark County are the beneficiaries of a ‘Safety Service’ culture that has had a positive impact on the quality of life in our area. We have many neighboring departments that assist us when we are called upon to respond beyond our ability to so and we return the favor when called upon. In 2013, our Fire/EMS responded 26 times to a neighboring departments call for mutual aid and we called others for mutual aid 19 times. Mutual aid from neighboring departments is used when additional manpower is needed for a confirmed structure fire or for EMS assistance when all three of our ambulances are responding to other calls.
We are grateful for the support of the City Administration and the public and will continue to deliver the very best in Fire Prevention, Fire Suppression, and Emergency Medical Service with the assets available to us. The reality faced by our Safety Services and City Administration at this critical time is the need to redirect our focus from our proud past to what needs to be an exciting future. Our personnel needs today and tomorrow will need to be met by trained individuals that can provide the very best in Fire and Emergency Medical response.