Helena Fire Department nets better ISO rating

Published 3:46 pm Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Insurance premiums in Helena might be on their way down starting Oct. 1 of this year.

Starting on that date, the Helena Fire Department will officially move to a Class 3 ISO rating from a Class 5 ISO rating. An ISO rating, in which 1 is the best and 10 is the worst, shows how good a city’s fire protection is and can affect residents’ insurance costs. The ratings are determined by the Insurance Services Office.

Helena Fire Chief John Wilder said the department went through an ISO audit in February, but he just got the results of the audit last month.

The audit determined the department had improved its fire services by adding personnel and equipment, building a new fire station and adding a new fire apparatus, among other actions.

Wilder said it’s been a goal of his to move to a better ISO rating.

“It’s been a process that’s taken over a couple of years,” he said. “It was a big goal for me, it was a big goal for the mayor to get it done. We want to provide the best service for our citizens that we can.”

The Helena Fire Department has had a Class 5 ISO rating since 1987, but the move to a Class 3 rating puts the department in elite company.

“That has put us in the top 3 percent of all departments in Alabama and in the top 4 percent of all departments nationwide,” Wilder said. “I take pride in what we’ve accomplished.”

Wilder said his goal is to continue to improve the department so it can grow along with Helena. This school year, firefighters will be going into Helena schools to help educate students about fire safety, and public education continues to be a priority, he said.

“We’re committed to the public safety of the community, and the public education of the community, and those are our goals,” he said. “We want to keep preparing for what the future’s going to bring to Helena.”

For more information on the fire department, visit Helenafire.com.