In a world where sometimes up is down and high is low, such are the rankings for the Insurances Services Office (ISO), which sets scores for fire departments based on their fire suppression criteria.
Liberty Fire Department has now earned a ranking of 2 – just one point from the highest ranking of 1.
“We were ISO 5 before this. We hadn’t been rated in quite some time, so they told us they were going to do a rate adjustment. The City Council hired a consultant that has worked with a lot of cities around us and it paid off,” said Liberty Fire Chief Brian Hurst, who has led the department since 2004.
The lower ISO classification is based on a wide variety of criteria but includes the fire department’s overall ability to fight fires. The criteria includes having access to an ample water supply, a sufficient number of fire hydrants, response time to emergencies, maintenance and testing of equipment, training of fire personnel, computer-aided dispatch and the City’s emergency reporting system and communications center.
“We put all of that in a report and we worked on it for several months,” Hurst said. “The whole city should be proud. It’s a big thing. It’s something we’ve been looking at for a number of years. We didn’t expect that it would happen during the whole COVID thing but we are quite pleased that the city did so well.”
The lower rating could also mean lower homeowners and property insurance rates for those insured by carriers that recognize the ISO rating. It’s also a badge of honor for Liberty Fire Department, the City of Liberty and Liberty residents.
The City of Liberty is now one of two Liberty County cities with an ISO rating of 2. No In February 2019, the City of Dayton and the Dayton Volunteer Fire Department moved up to a 2, up from a previous score of 6. No fire agency in Liberty County has the coveted rating of 1.
The City of Liberty is a paid fire service made up of 21 firefighters, including 18 fulltime firefighters and three administrators.
Hurst said the support of City Council and city management has been a big part of the improvements at Liberty Fire Department.
“They are all pro-fire. We are encouraged by their participation and support. We couldn’t do it without them,” the chief said.