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City’s fire safety rating gets boost

MFD fire

New ISO 3 rating combines with city’s efficient spending on fire services

Fire services in Mustang are better than ever, according to a national study that rates fire departments.

At the Aug. 2 council meeting, City Manager Tim Rooney reported that the city’s ISO rating has improved from an ISO 4 to a 3.

The new rating will go into effect Nov. 1, Rooney noted.

According to their website, ISO examines the extent to which growth threatens the effectiveness of public fire protection. The study looks at some of the ways communities are working to keep pace with growth and improve protection for their citizens.

Ratings also impact property/casualty insurance and its costs to homeowners and businesses. In short, the lower the ISO rating on a scale of 1 to 10, the better the insurance premiums.
Mustang’s rating boost comes on the heels of the city’s efforts to ask voters to consider extending a 1 cent sales tax to fund improvements including public safety. That election is set for Aug. 23 and includes building a new sub fire station and Emergency Operations Center.

During a recent talk on the sales tax, Rooney told chamber members the city spends less on fire services per citizen than any other community in the Oklahoma City metro. That breaks down to a budget of $1.786 million for 17 firefighters that serve a population of 19,097, or $93.53 per citizen.

The next closest city is Del City with $2.261 million budgeted for 29 firefighters and 21,990 people, or $102.85 per person. The city spending the most is Oklahoma City, a city of 610,613, with 951 firefighters and a budget of $146 million, or $239.19 per person.

Currently, the MFD operates out of one fire station at 465 W. State Highway 152. The department responded to 1,882 calls for service in 2014 and the average response time was less than five minutes.

Fire Chief Carl Hickman was unable to be reached for comment on the rating as of presstime.

More on the ISO
For each of more than 46,000 fire districts in the United States, ISO analyzes that information and assigns a Public Protection Classification — a number from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents exemplary fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire-suppression program does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria.

In Oklahoma, ISO’s ratings last reported showed only Midwest City as having a 1 rating. This was followed by 7 No. 2 ratings, 65 No. 3 ratings and 94 No. 4 ratings (this includes Mustang). The largest rating level is No. 9 with 641 departments fitting that criteria.

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