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Richard Rider

Poway earns RARE top firefighting rating while deploying only 3 man crews on trucks

Fire departments are rated for the insurance industry as to their fire suppression efficiency.  The lower the rating, the better.  These ratings ARE important, as they are considered by the companies that issue fire insurance.  Higher ratings translate into more costly fire insurance.  The certifying outfit is the Insurance Services Office, and so it’s called the ISO rating.

VERY few departments get the best ISO rating — a “1.”  In the entire state of California, only 10 fire departments achieve that rating.  Only 97 of the 47,000 fire agencies nationwide merit a “1” rating.

In San Diego County we are fortunate to have TWO such agencies. One is the Heartland Fire Agency, which serves the communities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove and El Cajon.  But the one that really surprised me was the Poway Fire Department.

Unlike almost all the other fire departments in San Diego County, Power deploys 3 man trucks.  Well, they use the same type of fire trucks the other departments use, but assign only three firefighters per truck.  Yet they have earned the coveted “1” rating.

It seems to me that our cash-strapped cities in California should look more closely at this option — and how Poway employs smaller fire crews while earning the best fire suppression marks one can get.  Kudos to the Poway Fire Department.

NOTE:   Cue the firefighter labor unions to go bonkers in 3, 2, 1 . . . .