By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon
Midwest City was recently recognized for its high level of fire protection service.
The Midwest City Fire Department again achieved an ISO (Insurance Services Office) Class 1 rating, the highest-achievable score for fire protection to commercial and residential structures.
The ISO rating system considers several factors such as the city’s dispatch and communications system, fire department, and the water department’s ability to support and sustain ample water supply.
Midwest City received its first ISO Class 1 designation in 2005 and has been able to maintain that level. The city has been evaluated repeatedly to ensure it is still upholding the high standards required for this.
“It was a feather in our hat when we first got it in 2005,” said Midwest City Fire Chief Bert Norton, who was working as a firefighter at the time the city first earned the rating. “To be able to maintain it for 18 years is pretty substantial. And understanding we’ve had changes in leadership in the fire department and the leadership in the city, but we’ve still been able to keep a focus to provide the best quality fire department that we can to the citizens.”
Less than 500 fire departments nationwide, and 9 in Oklahoma have achieved the Class 1 rating.
In late 2022, representatives with ISO evaluated and graded Midwest City on its ability to provide fire protection to all commercial and residential structures within the 26 square miles covered. Midwest City officially received the ISO Class 1 rating on March 1.
City officials received a certificate of recognition for the ISO Class 1 rating last Thursday during a presentation at City Hall.
ISO’s Public Protection Classifications measures the effectiveness of public fire protection for structures in 45,521 fire districts across the country. The PPC considers the overall fire suppression service capability relative to the risk in the graded area.
The ratings range from Class 1 to Class 10.
The rating system is divided between emergency communication (10 points), fire department (50 points), water supply (40 points) and community risk reduction (5.5 points).
The emergency communications portion looks at emergency reporting, telecommunication, and dispatch circuits. Midwest City received a perfect 10 of 10 points.
Fire departments are evaluated based on equipment on apparatus, deployment analysis, company personnel, training and operational considerations. Midwest City received 41.07 out of 50 points in the area.
Water supply was judged on adequacy of supply, hydrant size, type and installation and inspection and fire flow testing of hydrants. Midwest City was awarded 38.98 out of 40 points.
Additional points were awarded for Community Risk Reduction. They included fire prevention and code adoption and enforcement, public fire safety education, and fire investigation. Midwest City received 5.29 out of 5.5 points in that area.
Midwest City received a total score of 92.28 points out of a possible 105.5 points.
ISO added the community risk reduction section portion about 10 years ago. Midwest City received its first ISO Class 1 rating before that was available.
The city’s score increased from the last time it was evaluated in 2017. Since that time, the city added three firefighters and a new ladder truck that has a higher pump capacity.
“That (new ladder truck) is going to help with the big box stores and some of the things that are going in on NE 23rd and NE 36th streets,” Norton said. “And we added three firefighters through a grant to bring our staffing up.”
Having the lowest rating ensures the best possible insurance rates for both commercial and residential property. Not all insurance companies use the same actuary findings and data.