Clinton Fire Department gets rating upgrade


CLINTON — The Clinton Fire Department has moved up a notch in its effectiveness, according to an upgraded rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO).

ISO inspects and grades fire departments based on their overall performance and effectiveness of operation and provides the information to property / casualty insurers.  A fire department’s ISO rating has a bearing on the cost of insurance for homeowners.

ISO recently inspected Clinton Fire Department.  Inspections are good for five years.  The Clinton water system and 911 dispatch center also are part of the rating.

“Someone in a community rated a seven or eight or nine would have much higher insurance rates than what we have here,” said Blake West, of Clinton Fire Department.  “We had a six when I came on board the fire department nine years ago.”

ISO rates departments on a scale from 1-10, with a 1 being the highest.  There are only about 230 departments in the U.S. with a rating of 1.

“We just got our results a few days ago, and we’re now a number 4,” West said as he briefed city council members on Monday.  “Four is an excellent rating for a fire department our size.”

ISO rates 47,000 fire departments in the U.S., with Clinton Fire Department now among the top 5,000.

“We’re probably as good as or better than most other departments around here," said commissioner Dan Ballenger.

Springfield and Champaign fire departments recently received number 1 ratings.

“We did get dinged on a couple of things,” West said.  But they were items the department can’t control.

Some parts of town have only four-inch water mains feeding hydrants rather than larger six-inch mains.

“And, they don’t credit them,” West said.  “They only credit six-inch mains and above.”

“But, there isn’t anything we could change tomorrow to make this any better,” he said.