THANK YOU!!!

On Tuesday May 8 a great number of you went out and voted. According to those numbers more of you got out and voted in this primary election than in several non-presidential primary elections. With this awesome turnout on voting day we also received great news for the Fire Department. You all spoke loudly in our support passing our levy 69% to 31%. 

We at the Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department as so grateful to your support and we want to thank each and every one of you. We have a large number of events coming up from our Touch a Truck event in September to smaller community member requested events. So we hope to see you all and shake your hands to express our sincere gratitude for your help in getting a new truck which we can use to protect you and the rest of our community!

The Levy

We’ve spent the last few weeks talking about why we feel a new truck would benefit our community. Now it is time to discuss what it is that we are looking for. We are looking to add a 1.4 Mill levy to the ballot. This will allow us to generate approximately $129,362 per year over the course of 5 years. The purpose of this is for the purchase and maintenance of a new fire apparatus. We are very excited for this opportunity and hope that you get out and vote!

 

Our Engines

Last week we discussed our ISO review and what we were planning to do with that information so that we can improve our department. The first part were the improvements to training which we’ve undertaken. This week we will discuss the equipment portion of that review. The biggest thing we were found to be missing in our equipment was a second engine or pumper. The specifications to which Engine 67 was built 37 years ago and time have left this truck with severe deficiencies. NFPA stands for the National Fire Protection Association. This is an organization that creates and maintains the regulations for the fire service. They cover everything associated with the fire service from training and HR requirements to gear and equipment regulations. This organization sets the national standard to which all fire departments try to comply.

Engine 66

JFD Engine 66

Engine 66 is our first out fire engine. This truck was put into service back in 1999. Currently it meets all of the minimum criteria for a working engine and has done a great job serving this community. When we purchased Engine 66 we did all of our homework. We successfully anticipated many of the changing requirements and were able to purchase this engine with the specifications that keep it in good standing with NFPA. The average life span of Fire Apparatus is 10-20 years. We have been able to maintain all of our trucks and equipment for longer than that. Engine 66 is a prime example it is coming up on that 20 year mark and it remains a strong engine that consistently meets our needs within the community. This makes it a perfect truck to become a second engine for fire operations. With it’s strong marks in pump testing, equipment, and water tank Engine 66 will give us a highly rated second out engine. This will improve our ISO scores and provide better protection to the community.

Engine 67

JFD Engine 67 parade

Engine 67 until recently remained a good truck for our use. For the last few years it has been grandfathered in, so to speak, for some of the requirements. One of the big issues with this truck is a safety problem due to it’s design. It has an open cab which means that any firefighters responding to a call in this truck aside from the driver and passenger are seated behind the cab of the truck in a couple of seats with only a couple of metal bars and seatbelts holding them in place. The change to remove these open cab designs came about in 1991. It also allowed for any apparatus built prior to that to remain NFPA compliant for the next 10 years. With the plan of having those vehicles phased out of service.

Unfortunately, the cab design of this vehicle is not the only place in which this truck has fallen behind. Due to it’s age both the pump and water tank on this vehicle have begun to fail. These failures have relegated the truck to become simply a people mover. This is a truck that we take out when there are no other trucks available to get to a scene. We have reviewed our options in regards to potentially repairing these, but with it’s age can no longer find the parts needed to fix it. With all of these factors in play we have decided that it is in the best interest of the department and the community that we replace this truck with a new one.

Why New?

You may wonder why we have decided to purchase a brand new engine instead of getting a used one at a lower cost. The short answer is that new is better. With the purchase of a new engine we work directly with the manufacturer. This allows us to ensure that the engine we purchase meets all of the unique requirements of our community. As we work within a rural community we have limited access to fire hydrants and require specialized equipment and pumps to be able to draw water from the sources that we have available. We also get to configure our compartments so that we can ensure that all of our tools will fit where we need them.  This enables us to get the right equipment to the scene of your emergency the first time. Finally, though most departments will take care of their equipment you never truly know how that truck was maintained or why they have decided to sell it. We feel that for the community it is best if we purchase a truck that we can customize to the specifications needed to handle the unique challenges that North Jackson, Ohio provides.

Jackson Township’s ISO Review

In 2017 we began the process of reviewing our department. This is to ensure that we are keeping up with the latest changes in technology, information, training, and equipment. We want to ensure that everything we do reflect the changes in understanding of fires, rescue operations, and medical emergencies. To that end we consulted with the ISO review board in order to have our township evaluated. This allowed ensure that our rankings matched with where we were as a department, and also to see how we can do better.

Following that review we have been designated with an ISO PPC Ranking of 6/6Y. The split ranking is due to the fact that our township is not fully covered by fire hydrants. The 6Y designation indicates that the protection in those areas not covered by a fire hydrant remain at a level 6 given the ability to establish a water source.

The above graph shows the countrywide distribution of ISO/PPC rankings. At this time Jackson Township is doing very well around the middle of the pack in Class 6. We are excited to able to improve those rankings, and with it our ability to effectively protect our community. With the help of this investigation we were able to identify a number of areas that we can target for improvement. Our primary goal is to move up to a Class 5 or better fire district.

Once we received the report began working to implement a plan to better the department. There were two major points that we found that could have a great impact on our ability to improve, training and equipment.

Training

The training of our firefighters has always been a priority for this department. This report helped determine some areas where this could be improved. To that end, we took on an initiative to ensure that our department had the necessary training and certifications. Under a grant from the State Fire Marshall we sent a number of our firefighters to the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center (MCCTC) in order to receive, at a minimum, their Firefighter I certification. Along with this all new firefighters hired are sent for that certification. This is the same certification used by many of our neighboring communities full time fire departments.

The next thing that we have undertaken in order to improve training is a review of classes available at the State Fire Academy in Columbus, Ohio. There we are able to send firefighters for specialized training that can assist us in operations. These classes range from the grain bin training three of our firefighters attended at the end of last year to high angle rope rescues, confined spaces, and many others. With these improvement we will be better equipped to handle any of the emergencies that those within our community face.

Equipment

The next piece of the puzzle requires your help. That is the purchasing of new equipment. We have chosen to seek a tax levy which will allow us to buy a new fire engine and equipment. The goal here is bring us up to the current standards. In a future article we will discuss what those needs are and how purchasing a new engine will help us better meet and exceed those needs!

ISO what is it?

With the Jackson Township Fire Department seeking funds to purchase a new engine you may begin to hear a lot about ISO ratings. Most people though have never heard of this so we wanted to take a minute to try and explain what an ISO rating is.

Insurance Service Office (ISO)

The Insurance Service Office (ISO) is a for-profit organization that generates reviews and risk assessments for communities and distributes these to insurance companies to assist in their determination of insurance premiums. Started in 1971 they have become one of the leading sources of insurance risk for companies looking to do business across the United States. They are a part of the VERISK Analytics company who now maintain the organization. It is very important to note that neither ISO nor VERISK are going to be your insurance provider, they just work with those providers.

Sources:
About ISO 
ISO FAQ

Public Protection Classification (PPC)

The Public Protection Classification (PPC) is the official name of the ISO rating and produces a score between 1 and 10, with 1 being the best and 10 meaning the requirements are not met. Another title for this would be the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). This entire process is primarily an examination of the fire departments protection capabilities. Put simply it is how effective the fire department would be at minimizing any losses during a fire. The main factors taken into consideration when determining a communities PPC are the Fire Department training and equipment, Water Supply, and Fire Alarms present and responsiveness. What all of this comes down to is how quickly can the fire department be notified (Fire Alarms), respond with the appropriate equipment and trained personnel (Fire Department), and get the needed water (Water Supply) to the scene.

Sources and Additional Information:
Springfield MO
FSRS
VERISK PPC

Why does this matter?

Ultimately, you may be wondering why all of this matters. Put simply a fire department’s effectiveness has a direct impact on your insurance premiums. The ISO or PPC rating is shared with nearly every insurance company that provides coverage for homeowner and renters insurance. The better rated a community can be the lower premiums for those communities tend to be. Now this entire process is much more complicated than what we’ve explained here, but this should provide a quick overview of what’s being referred to when we discuss the benefits to our ISO ratings.

Levy for a new truck coming in May

The Jackson Township Volunteer Fire Department is excited to announce that we will be presenting a levy in May. The purpose of this levy is to help with the cost of purchasing a new Engine to replace Engine 67!

Under Chief Perry Book engine 67 was put into service on April 15, 1981. Since that time this truck has been an important part of our fleet of vehicles. Engine 67 was the first truck to countless fires, rescue operations, and medical emergencies for the citizens of our community. The passage of time, however, has taken it’s toll on this truck. After 37 years of service we feel that it is time to begin the process of replacing it. Sadly, Engine 67 is no longer fully functional, and has fallen only to those tasks of getting people and some equipment to the scene of our townships emergencies. This leaves a major need within our department for a second Engine to fully support operations.

Our hope is that with the passage of this new levy we can retire Engine 67 from service. Doing so will allow us to continue supporting the citizens of our community as best we can. It will provide us with the ability to get better equipment.  It will also allow us to better ensure the safety of our firefighters and the safety of all of you within our community! We hope that you will head to the polls in May!

Grain bin rescue

This past weekend three of our firefighters took part in grain bin rescue training which was put together by the Ohio Fire Academy. This training taught our firefighters how to properly handle someone who is trapped inside of a grain bin. This typically results in those individuals becoming stuck and possibly submerged in the grain which acts like quicksand and swallows the victims. Mike Mortimer, Anthony Jones, and Chris Duncan all attended and got to spend some time both being swallowed up by the grain and helping others get out!