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Central Mat-Su Fire Department Ranks in Top 17 Percent in Nation

The second largest fire department in Alaska maintains its great fire protection rating even with incredible growth and surges in fire calls.

centralwatertestThe Central Mat-Su Fire Department is in the top 17 percent of all of the departments rated in the nation after the latest public protection classification survey, which rated the department a 4/10, the same rating it has held since 2003. Results were given recently by the Insurance Services Office.

“The ability to maintain the 4/10 rating is a significant accomplishment,” said Central Mat-Su Fire Chief James Steele. “This is a very big deal to maintain the 4 rating. All the big commercial stores were not here, our call volume was 50 percent of what it is now, and the population was at least a third less,” Steele said.

Just one community, Knik-Fairview,  in the Wasilla-Lakes Fire Service Area grew by 123 percent in an 11-year period, and is the fifth largest community in Alaska. Across the service area, thfireblacksmokelowrese emergency call volume has nearly doubled to 1,751 emergency calls for calendar year 2013.

The ISO rating of your local fire department can affect your home and business insurance rates. ISO’s Public Protection Classification Program plays an important role in the underwriting process at insurance companies. Most insurers, including the largest ones, use program information as part of their decision-making when deciding what business to write, coverages to offer or prices to charge for personal or commercial property insurance.

The survey, including an on-site visit, analyzes the structural fire suppression delivery system. Data is gathered relating to three critical areas: emergency communications, fire department and water supply. The ISO issues a numerical score between “1” and “10” with “1” being the highest rating. Wasilla-Lakes Fire Service Area is a 4/10. The first class applies to properties within five road miles of a recognized fire station. The Class 10 applies to properties more than five road miles from a recognized fire station. All eight fire stations within the Wasilla-Lakes Fire Service Area (Central Mat-Su Fire Department) are recognized fire stations.

The last ISO review occurred in 2003.

In order to meet the service needs, Wasilla-Lakes has invested in personnel, equipment and facilities. The number of paid on-call staff has increased, and recruitment of 100 more on-call responders is underway.  A replacement schedule for fire apparatus has been initiated. Two new fire stations have been built and a third one is under construction.

For more information call Central Mat-Su Fire Dept.’s Chief James Steele at 861-8041 or Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan at 861-8577 psullivan@matsugov.us

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