The City of Milbank is safer than ever. Milbank Fire Chief Kevin Schuelke attended the city council’s regular meeting Monday, November 14, to report the ISO rating for the city dropped from a Class 6 to a Class 4. “This is a big deal for the City of Milbank,” Schuelke explained.
The Insurance Services Office (ISO), an independent company, evaluates fire departments in the United States. Based on their assessment, they assign a rating between 1 and 10, with 1 being the best and 10 the worst. This rating reflects the overall effectiveness of the department and helps determine fire insurance premiums for property owners.
“This rating is like a report card for our department and community,” Schuelke stated. It is based on points in three categories – 50% fire department, 40% water supply, and 10% emergency communications. Points are awarded for apparatus, staffing, training, and distribution of stations. The water supply category includes points for sustained flow rate, water system maintenance, and type of supply.
Schuelke went on to explain that other than a few minor improvements, the Milbank department is rated as high as it can be. “In order to keep improving that rating, we would need to become a full-time department with paid staff,” he said. “There are a few minor things we can do, but I am really proud of our guys for the commitment they make to the department. Volunteering is decreasing nationwide, so I appreciate our fire fighters for their continued service to the department and this community.”
Improving a department’s ISO rating is more than just a boost for the department. It also means savings on fire insurance for every property owner in that jurisdiction. “With a good rating, the price of insurance is substantially lower than a community with a poor rating. I cannot tell you how much savings there will be, but it’s significant,” Schuelke said.