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By Michael Christianson
Dryden Fire Chief Ken Kurz presented a report prepared by Fire Underwriters Survey (FUS) as a result of their recent Fire Insurance Classification assessment of Dryden to council last week.
In Feb. 2015 FUS requested information to initiate an assessment of fire protection grading for the City of Dryden. This assessment if conducted to update the Public Fire Protection Classifications and Dwelling Protection Grades assigned to the community; through this process FUS determines whether the level of fire risk and fire protection programs have changed since the last assessment, the last assessment was done in 1987.
“That company delivered their report to us March 4 and it’s information for council to make credible decisions,” said Kurz. “It’s a third party but it’s really from a business perspective of the insurance industry and how they look at it and what they would like to see a municipality have for fire and life safety services. So, they’ve given recommendations and that was the basis of the report to say there are areas we can improve in to get a higher credit score and to keep out insurance ratings on the same level.”
The report found three areas for recommended improvements.
First the FUS report indicated that Dryden’s fire prevention and public education programs require attention and review. That was also a key finding in the Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management Review that was presented to council in Jan. 2016, which included 30 recommendations.
The fire service career Emergency and Education Officer position was eliminated back in April 2014 without study or review. It is estimated that a minimum 2-year process is required for an internal member to complete the training and the only qualified Public Educator and Fire inspector is Chief Kurz who is set to retire in 2017.
Secondly the FUS report indicated that improvement was required in fire service training programs. This item is currently being addressed and will be presented to FUS in 2016 for compliance.
Finally the FUS identified two apparatus by age and service life-cycle that will affect Dryden’s insurance grade. Kurz is looking for a specific plan from council to replace equipment such as the pumper that will be 20 years old come September.
Kurz has requested annually that a capital reserve program be established for replacing equipment.