“I have about four items that are more for your information than requisitions, but they are items coming up,” he said. “Since capital funding has been frozen over the last couple of years, we have items of depreciation coming into play.”
Extrication tools, bunker gear, breathing apparatus and ISO ratings were all issues Haun felt the Council should be made aware of.
The department bought six sets of extrication tools in 2006 at a cost of $26,000 each. He said the tools work fine but they are being made obsolete by technology — more vehicles are being manufactured using boron and other materials stronger than the extrication tools can cut. The new materials require 10,000 pounds-per-square-inch rated tools instead of the department’s 5,000 p.s.i. rated tools. The tools are not interchangeable.
About half of the bunker gear was purchased in 2007. The rest of the gear has been purchased over the last four years. Haun said changing standards are also outdating the heavy protective clothing firefighters wear.
“It’s nothing that has to be done today,” he said.
The most important item is the oxygen breathing apparatus firefighters use to support life in dangerous atmospheres. The city’s equipment was purchased in 2003. They go out of warranty this year. The air packs are working fine, but it is time to start thinking about changing them out for safety reasons.
“These apparatus are our lifelines,” he said. “These guys depend on these things for their lives.”
Haun said he has received calls from homeowners complaining their insurance was doubling or tripling because of ISO rating criteria. Not all insurance companies use ISO for setting rates. But, Haun said, property located five road miles from a fire department is considered ISO 9.
He said as property comes up for renewal, insurance companies are reassessing where the property is located. Most of the property in question lies in the fringe area.
“If you live outside five miles, they are jumping you from a three or four to a nine,” he said.
The city still maintains an ISO 3 rating inside the city limits, but insurance companies do not have to go by that.
He said insurance companies will let the lower rating stand most of the time if the department confirms that it services the area in question.