Superstition Fire and Medical District receives class 2 public protection classification

Superstition Fire and Medical District officials at a fire scene. (Superstition Fire and Medical District)

The Superstition Fire and Medical District recently lowered its Insurance Service Office public protection classification rating to class 2. The district previously held a class 3 rating.

Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Richard Ochs

“The ISO recently completed a detailed analysis of the fire suppression delivery system that SFMD provides to the community. The findings resulted in an exemplary class 2 rating, placing SFMD in the top 4% of all fire departments in the country,” Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Richard Ochs, SFMD public information officer, said in a release.

The new ISO rating has the potential to lower insurance rates for community members, according to the release.

The ISO gathers information about municipal fire protection in communities all across the U.S. In each community, ISO staff analyze data and assign a public protection classification number between 1 and 10. Superior fire protection is represented by a class 1 rating and a class 10 indicates that an area’s fire-suppression program is not meeting the minimum criteria set forth by ISO, according to the release.

“The ISO evaluation process is laborious, grueling, and encompasses every division of the fire district including, but not limited to; community risk reduction, fire prevention, business inspections, call processing and dispatch, emergency deployment and response, staffing, water flow capabilities, training, fire investigations, apparatus, equipment, annual hose and pump testing, water supply and response procedures,” Assistant Chief Ochs said.

The SFMD was able to lower its ISO rating largely because of changes implemented over the past 12 to 18 months, he said.

SFMD Fire Chief Mike Farber eliminated four administrative positions, some of which had been filled by firefighters. This allowed for additional firefighters to be assigned to fire stations and improve staffing levels, Assistant Chief Ochs said.

In July 2018 the district implemented a second crew to respond out of its busiest fire station at 16th Avenue and Idaho Road, following a six-month trial period. The addition of the second crew resulted in reduced response times, reduced property loss due to the effects of fire, increased survivability, reduced fatigue and increased safety for firefighters, according to the release.

Fire Chief Mike Farber

Chief Farber and his staff applied for a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant. The federal firefighter assistance grant was awarded in September and allowed the district to hire seven additional firefighters and further improve its staffing and deployment capabilities, according to the release.

“The achievement of a class 2 rating is symbolic of the hard work, dedication and commitment of all SFMD members, as well as the district’s board of directors, the Apache Junction Water District, the Arizona Water Co., and the support of the community,” Chief Farber said in the release.

“I could not be more proud of all of the employees of the district. I want to thank each and every one of them for their hard work and dedication. Each division within the district has performed well and went above and beyond in their performance,” he said.


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