Commonwealth Journal

May 13, 2014

City of Somerset receives solid fire protection score

by Heather Tomlinson
Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — Somerset recently was graded on its fire protection services, and the score handed down was a good one.

During Monday’s Somerset City Council meeting, Somerset Fire Department Chief Tyler Jasper announced that the city had received a score of 3 on a scale of 1 to 10 — with 1 being the highest score and 10 the lowest — in the Public Protection Classification Program carried out by the International Organization for Standardization.

Jasper said testers with ISO were recently in town to grade the municipality’s fire protection coverage, water pressure capacity, and more in providing up-to-date information for insurance providers for residential and commercial properties.

“We did go up in rating, which... that’s a good thing, not a bad thing,” said Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler. “It will help decrease the cost for insurance for commercial and residential properties.”

Somerset received a score of 4 in its last survey. Cities with a score of 1 are considered to have superior fire protection services, while those with a 10 are considered to not meet the minimum standards set forth by ISO.

“That’s a tremendous achievement for the City of Somerset and the fire department,” said Girdler.

According to its website, ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the U.S.

By classifying communities' ability to suppress fires, the PPC program allows communities to evaluate their public fire protection services.

The program provides a countrywide standard that helps fire departments in planning and budgeting for facilities, equipment, and training. The PPC program provides incentives and rewards for communities that choose to improve their firefighting services by securing lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection.

Jasper said the city’s water department helped immensely in the survey, working to ensure that the city’s many water lines provide sufficient pressure for fire suppression.

Jasper said they are hoping to work toward a goal score of 2.

 “A 2 is not out of the question, but we do have a lot of work to get there if we choose to go that way,” said Jasper.