Coralville Fire Department ranks high on national scale

Primarily a volunteer operation, it gets analyst's second-highest award

Coralville Fire Chief Dave Stannard is pictured in 2009 at the Coralville Fire Department building. (The Gazette).
Coralville Fire Chief Dave Stannard is pictured in 2009 at the Coralville Fire Department building. (The Gazette).

CORALVILLE — The Coralville Fire Department recently received a Public Protection Classification of 2 from the national Insurance Services Office. Fire Chief Dave Stannard explained how the city received the organization’s second-best ranking and what it means for residents.

Q: What does a ranking of 2 mean and how does that compare with other departments?

A: ... That’s a better rating than most people in the state. All the departments are rated on a scale of 1 to 10 and 1 is the best and there’s only one other city in Iowa, to my knowledge, that has a 1 right now.

So 2 is the next best and the last I knew there was only six or seven departments at the most that had a 2 rating in the state of Iowa ...

Q: What factors are considered when the rankings are determined?

A: They look at your equipment, your personnel. Within your personnel, they look at your training, how many people you bring on the scene, how much staffing time you have and how many people actually arrive on the scene ... They look at your response times and how long it takes you to arrive on scene in a normal call. And then they also look at the city’s water supply to determine whether there’s an adequate water supply for the size of the buildings that are there and the distribution of water and where the hydrants are located and the number of hydrants and whether they’re all the same. And then the third thing they look at, which is 10 percent of the score, that’s the communication ...

Q: What categories were particularly strong for Coralville?

A: Well, our water system is very strong. That’s just infrastructure of time because if you have a problem with it, it’s not an easy fix, OK? Our fire department has continued to get better year after year so we continue to do things that improve that score. So our fire department is strong for a volunteer fire department. ...

Q: What does a rating like this mean for Coralville residents?

A: “Normally, it’s bragging rights. The best score you get is obviously bragging rights for a fire department. But we just look at it like what we’re supposed to be doing is trying to be the best fire department that the community is paying for. It does have an effect on primarily commercial insurance rates. So the ISO rating is used to assist insurers with rating a business, so how much they’re going to charge them ...”

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say about the rating?

A: I think it really says a lot for our volunteers and the support they give us and what they do. We’re a strong department for having (a) primarily volunteer department and I credit our volunteers for helping with that.

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