Fire company Vice President Chas Woolsey, junior firefighter Nate Beck and fire Chief Frank Cobb look over equipment at the Duquesne fire station. (Cami DiBattista photo for Tube City Almanac)
Firefighters and city officials in Duquesne are awaiting the results of an evaluation of the fire department's readiness.
The evaluation is being done by the Insurance Services Office, Inc., said Duquesne fire Chief Frank Cobb. The last ISO inspection of Duquesne was done in 1989, he said.
ISO assigns a Public Protection Classification rating between 1 and 10, with 1 being the best and 10 being the worst. Duquesne's PPC rating was seven, Cobb said.
“They seemed pleased,” he said. “It’s looking pretty good and we’re anticipating a much lower rating than we received several decades ago.”
According to the ISO website, the PPC rating reflects the overall effectiveness of the department and helps determine the fire insurance premiums for property owners in that department’s jurisdiction. ISO's website says that most U.S. insurers use the program to help determine premiums for residential, commercial and industrial property insurance.
The ISO examines a fire department's call times, water pressure, the location of hydrants and fire training provided to volunteers, and reports back to the State Fire Commissioner’s office.
Duquesne Mayor Nickole Nesby said that if the ISO number for the city is lowered, insurance rates will likely go down.
Cobb said ISO inspectors were in Duquesne on Feb. 5.
“The ISO spent about five hours here reviewing our department,” Cobb said. “They considered manpower, training of volunteers, the condition of our apparatuses and equipment. They did an overview of Duquesne’s water flow and system, and looked at our report writing and paper work.
Cobb said ISO had not reviewed the Duquesne department for nearly 30 years due to a dispute with the previous city administration.
“All fire departments should have this done every couple years,” Cobb said. “Our new administration said we’re going to be fully compliant and let the ISO come in and review everything. Our doors are open and they’re welcome back anytime. As the chief, if something isn’t up to code or can be improved on, I want to know about it.”
Cami DiBattista is a freelance writer.
Originally published May 09, 2018.