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Henry County FD wants SPLOST to improve ISO rating
by Staff
September 12, 2013 01:07 PM | 1610 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Last week at Lake Dow in McDonough, Henry County firefighters conducted required annual drills, defined in the National Fire Protection Association standard on training for initial emergency scene operations.

The drills conducted were water supply evolutions.

Their purpose was evaluating and perfecting the timeliness and proficiency in achieving appropriately calculated water pressures from the pumper apparatus to the ladder apparatus, to support various fire ground operation scenarios.

Besides responding to emergency calls, training is a priority in the daily routine for county firefighters.

“The repetitive actions of structured training not only produce proficiency in the skills of our emergency responders, but it also directly affects the insurance ratings for our homeowners,” department spokeswoman Capt. Sabrina Puckett said in a statement.

The Insurance Services Office ranks city and county fire departments on a scale from 1 to 10.

A ranking of one is the best score a department can receive and indicates it provides the best possible protection from fire.

A score of 10 indicates there is little or no fire protection within five road miles to that area.

The county department was awarded a Class 4/9, up from a class 5/9, during the 2012 inspection.

The ISO rating evaluates the fire department’s effectiveness in coverage, personnel, equipment and training.

It will soon include a fire prevention and education component as well as.

In addition, it evaluates the effectiveness of the 911 communications center and the water systems in each jurisdiction.

The ISO rating is used by insurance agents to determine the risk factors for a property.

It is also helpful to communities in the evaluation of their public fire protection services.

“The current rating is a direct reflection of the hard work of our personnel and the support of our citizens and we will continue to strive for excellence,” Fire Chief Bill Lacy said in a statement.

There are still three areas, Luella, Mt. Carmel and Kelleytown, where many homes fall outside five road miles to their closest fire station.

“Fortunately, for these areas, the Henry County Board of Commissioners approved an intergovernmental agreement with the cities of Hampton, Locust Grove, McDonough, and Stockbridge to proceed with putting a referendum, SPLOST IV, on the upcoming November 2013 election ballot regarding a 1 percent special purpose local option sales tax to fund capital and transportation projects in the community,” Puckett said.

The proposed projects outlined in SPLOST IV include the construction of three new fire stations in each of these three areas, which would greatly reduce the number of homes lying outside five road miles from a fire station.

If the SPLOST IV program is approved by voters in November, it would simply continue the one penny sales tax. It would not be an additional tax.

“Past SPLOST have greatly shaped the quality of fire service delivery to the citizens of Henry County,” Lacy said.

Nearly half of the fire stations in Henry County and many of the emergency vehicles that currently respond to over 22,000 emergency calls per year are the product of previous SPLOST projects.

“The proposed projects are absolutely essential to maintain the current level of service,” Lacy said. “With building construction back on the rise and the expected increase in population in Henry County, the quality of fire protection and emergency medical services provided to the citizens will be significantly impacted by the voters’ approval of SPLOST IV this November.”

If the referendum passes:

--The department will increase in manpower by about 25 percent, nearing the national standard for personnel staffing and improvement in the level and quality of fire and emergency services

--Response times will decrease due to the additional stations, vehicles, and proximity

--Homeowners will see a reduction in their insurance premiums

--More ambulances will decrease the periods of unavailable ambulances.

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