Piedmont City Councilman Jeff Wieler has recently argued that a reduction of one firefighter per shift in Piedmont would result in a lower rating for the city’s fire protection by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), and a higher insurance cost for homeowners.
This is absolute nonsense and another example of Measure Y proponents’ scare tactics.
A review of the ISO rating system tells a very different story. Cities are not rated in the simple way the Council member suggests. The ISO ratings are based on a large number of factors including:
- Quality of the dispatch system and dispatch procedures
- Capacity of the department’s phone system, even including the availability of emergency numbers in the local phone book
- Amount of water needed to adequately protect the community
- Inventory of equipment such as nozzles and hoses
- Equipment maintenance and testing
- Quality, type and extent of firefighter training
- 40% of a community’s rating is based on capacity of the water supply including storage, pumps, filtration, mains and hydrants
If we’re going to talk about the quality of Piedmont’s fire protection, let’s put all the facts on the table. There is no evidence at all that minimally reducing the shift size would translate into a lower rating or higher insurance prices.
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