Osseo gets good news about fire rating

Could save city, residents on insurance costs

The Osseo City Council received an updated on the Fire Department’s ISO rating report during its meeting Monday, Feb. 11.

A separate story on other items the council handled will appear in next week’s paper.

ISO stands for Insurance Services Office, which evaluates all the fire departments in the country. This evaluation gives property insurance companies basis for setting rates for the insurance of properties in areas covered by the fire department.

The last time the city’s fire department was evaluated was in 2000, when the department was rated as a Class 7.

A study of the department was done last year and the results have just come back to the city. The report ranks the Osseo Fire Department at a Class 5, which is a substantial increase in the rating according to city staff.

“We were pretty excited last week to get a letter from ISO, indicating that the rank of the fire department has moved up quite a bit,” City Administrator Douglas Reeder said.

Osseo Fire Chief Pat McGrane said he originally received a packet last July. He felt since the department had done a lot more training with its fire fighters and hooked up to Maple Grove water to increase the city’s water pressure, the ISO rating should be looked at again. Packets were given to the Fire Chief, city staff and Public Works Supervisor Randy Korfiatis.

“We put everything together and had an appointment with [ISO representative] on Oct. 31,” McGrane said. “At that time, we sat down for a couple of hours and we went through all the information. Everything that the fire department has done since 2000 to this point. And Randy’s guys were terrific. They did four or five hydrants for water testing.”

McGrane said the ISO representative was “astounded” by the water pressure.

The better ranking is, in part, due to the improvements in dispatching, the city’s water system and the department itself.

McGrane said, “The one thing we did get knocked down a little bit was in training. For a paid, on-call department, they say you should be training double what we’re training in one month. We already use four Thursdays a month, so it’s pretty hard to push everybody that hard.”

According to the ISO report, in Minnesota in 2011 there were only 187 cities ranked as Class 5. The ranking showed zero cities in Class 1 or 2, only 39 cities in Class 3 and Class 4 had 103 cities. Most of the Minnesota cities were ranked in Class 9.

Reeder said the there are 2,069 fire departments in the state of Minnesota rated by ISO. “There are only 142 departments that have a higher rating than Osseo, and a good number of those are full-time departments,” he added.

McGrane added he hoped this ranking would bring insurance costs down for the businesses, for the citizens, and for the city of Osseo.

“I want to thank city staff, LeAnn and Gary did a lot of work,” he said. “I want to thank Randy’s crew. I especially want to thank Mike Phenow and Derick Haug on our fire department, they really put together a lot of information for this… I’m happy, I’m happy for the city.”

Mayor Duane Poppe said, “We really appreciate you efforts to get this done.”