Roswell Fire Chief Chad Hamill, far right, Deputy Chief Devin Graham, far left, City Councilor Steve Henderson, second from far left, and Mayor Del Jurney, second from far right, stand with the firefighters of RFD Station One. (Jessica Palmer Photo)
The Roswell Fire Department announced an improvement in its ISO Class rating, from 3 to 2. ISO stands for Insurance Service Organization, which is one of two rating organizations. The ISO rates fire services for insurance companies across the nation. This is good news for the citizens of Roswell, since it may eventually be reflected in their insurances rates. Although Deputy Fire Chief Devin Graham said they could not guarantee a reduction, they hoped this would be the case.
The ISO scale goes from 1 to 10, with 1 being the top rating. Fire Chief Chad Hamill told City Councilor Steve Henderson that the RFD had held its previous 3-rating for 10 years.
Roswell now ranks as one of six fire departments in New Mexico with a 2-rating. No fire departments in the state have achieved a Class 1 rating. Graham said: “The ISO Class 1 is difficult to obtain. It is a goal we will work for in the future.”
He explained that the new rating has been in preparation for many years. “It is the result of years of hard work. Changes in recordkeeping is a big portion of the improved rating.” He credited Division Fire Chief Jason Wheatfield for his work on the new documentation system.
The ISO studies three main areas, receiving and handling of fire alarms, the department itself and water supply. However, the ISO also inspects the quality and maintenance of equipment, training, documentation and manpower.
The place where RFD falls short, according to ISO inspectors, is in the number of personnel. The 91-person fire department is more than sufficient for state requirements and for the National Fire Protection Agency, the federal agency that monitors fire safety. Hamill said the RFD would have to hire 60 more people to achieve the number 1-rating.
Graham praised the firefighters. “I can’t say enough about our men. … These are the guys that made it happen.”
He also expressed his gratitude to the Pecos Valley Regional Communication Center and the City of Roswell Water Department. “The fire department would like to extend a sincere thank you to city staff, City Council and past fire administration for all the … hard work that went into obtaining this rating,” Graham said, adding that he wanted to “thank the citizens of Roswell for their unwavering support as we continue toward the highest level service to our community.”
During the press conference, Mayor Del Jurney congratulated the RFD for its achievement. “I want you to know just how proud we are of you and the services you provide,” he said. “Your services are exemplary.”