Mt. High service area gets ISO upgrade



Mt. High Volunteer Fire Department mainstays (from left), Chief Bob Sanford, Larry Russell, Ron Lowe, and Janice Russell discuss challenges of keeping an important community service functioning with dwindling manpower.

Mt. High Volunteer Fire Department mainstays (from left), Chief Bob Sanford, Larry Russell, Ron Lowe, and Janice Russell discuss challenges of keeping an important community service functioning with dwindling manpower.

Fire Chief Bob Sanford of the Mt. High Volunteer Fire Department said last week that the ISO rating for the department and for the area it serves has been upgraded to a 5/9. The previous rating was 6/9.

The new rating is based on a Public Protection Classification (ISO) survey done on the Mt. High department in June this year, Sanford said. The effective date for the upgraded rating is Dec. 1.

The first number of the split rating applies to households that are within five miles of a fire station and within 1000 feet of a fire hydrant. The second number applies to households that do not meet both criteria.

The rating is based on analysis of four major categories, each of which is made up of a number of items. The categories are “fire flows” – building locations and water facilities needed for fire suppres- sion; “handling alarms”– quality of telephone and dispatch systems; “fire department” – equipment, personnel, training, and records of the department itself, and “water supply”– condition of hydrants used to deliver water, alternate water sources, and analysis of availability of water to provide up to 3500 gallons per minute to suppress fires.

Sanford said it has been 13 years since the department was last rated. During that time, it has added an additional pumper truck and a second station location near Mulberry Hills Subdivision on county road 5. Insurance premiums may be reduced

“The main thing about this upgrade is that it enables people to lower the cost of their homeowner’s insurance premiums. The amount depends on who the insurance carrier is. We’ve worked hard and overcome some tough circumstances to get this improved rating, and we want to make sure people are aware of the upgrade,” Sanford said. A map showing the Mt. High service area appears above. The service area includes a section of Jefferson County along its southern boundary. (Ed. Some insurance companies do not base their premiums on the ISO rating, but many do. While insurance carriers are reluctant to quote figures publicly on how much the upgrade will reduce premiums, indications are the reduction could be significant on an annual basis.)

“I want you to put this in that article, too. I’d like to take this chance to thank the people who are making the $5 contribution on their water bill to support us, the volunteer fire department,” Sanford said. “People don’t realize it, but that makes up nearly 80 percent of our day-today operating money. We get some money from the Health Care Authority for equipment, and some money from the county commission for fuel, but those dues are our lifeblood. I’d like to thank those people who are paying it, and appeal to the ones who aren’t to help us out. They’ll need us someday.” ATTN Mt. High: volunteers needed

Sanford also appealed for additional volunteers to help the volunteer fire and rescue department continue to carry out its mission, pointing out that about 90 percent of the department’s calls are medical in nature. He emphasized that while additional manpower is badly needed to fight fires and provide medical services and the required training for those jobs is substantial, additional people to carry out support activities are needed, as well.

Such activities include keeping required logs and records, inputting detailed information into databases, assisting with clean up and preparation work on trucks and associated equipment after each call, and other support work that occupies much of the workload of the department. Those jobs do not require formal training.