The Christopher Kohl’s Fire Department recently performed intensive fire training drills using a donated cabin to brush up on firefighting skills and possibly lower homeowners’ insurance rates.
During training, firefighters entered a smoke-filled cabin with charged hoses and searched for victims, which were heavy, realistic mannequins.
After everyone had a chance to rescue a victim, small fires were set throughout the cabin and firefighters searched for and extinguished the flames.
For safety reasons, after all drills were complete, the cabin was torched and burned down. Firefighters not involved with an inside drill, kept busy by preventing the fire from spreading to nearby trees and cabins.
“The whole exercise was critiqued, lessons were learned and gear cleaned and stowed,” said Fire Chief Electra VanEckhoutte.
“Training like this is just one part of a fire department’s training regimen, but is also a part of the evaluation that the Insurance Services Organization (ISO) conducts to rate the department for homeowner insurance.”
The ISO also audits the number of dispatchers and how they handle alarm calls; water supplies available; availability of firefighter and training facilities and the number and condition of fire engines.
Insurance companies will use the assigned ISO as a basis for homeowners’ insurance rates.
“A lower ISO number usually means a lower charge to the homeowner for insurance,” VanEckhoutte said. “It also represents a fire department better manned and equipped to provide fire emergency response to their area homeowners.”
After an ISO evaluation last year, Christopher Kohl’s rating lowered to a class 6/8B, effective May 1.
“This is a considerable improvement over the class 8B/10 that the department has had for the last 17 years,” she said. “The department spent many hours preparing and training for the evaluation.”
Christopher Kohl’s has added firefighters, upgraded equipment in the past few years and training has increased, especially in wild land urban interface situations.
Hellsgate Fire Department trained with Christopher Kohl’s and played a large part in the lower rating for Christopher Kohl’s.
“The favor was returned when Hellsgate had their own ISO evaluation, resulting in a far lower rating than they previously had,” she said. “By working together on the ISO evaluations, both departments and also the area homeowners benefited.”