City better protected than ever, officials say

City better protected than ever, officials say
(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

BROOKLAND, AR (KAIT) - The residents in one Region 8 county are better protected than ever before.

A news conference was held Thursday at the Brookland Fire Protection District Goobertown station to discuss results from the city's recent Insurance Service Office, or ISO, inspection.

Fire Chief of the Brookland Fire Protection District Steve Beck said the results were good.

"They came by in April," Beck said. "They dropped us from an ISO Class 5 to an ISO Class 4. 10% of the grade is for communications. 50% of the grading is for the fire department and the other 40% is for the water supply."

ISO is a third party agency that grades fire departments for the insurance industry.

Beck said this process began long ago.

"We started back in 1992," Beck said. "That was when we began our all-out effort to lower the ISO rating. Today, we finally got it down to a 4. It feels good. A lot of effort was put out by the board members, Brookland officers, firefighters, and associates. A lot of effort was put out, but now it's paying off."

Beck said much more goes into achieving this goal than people realize.

"You have to maintain your equipment," Beck said. "You have to buy certain equipment to be able to lower it. You have to work with the water company, the 911 center and do the right thing at the right time to lower the rating."

Brookland Mayor Kenneth Jones said he's excited for their community.

"Talking about the Brookland Fire District," Mayor Jones said. "Going to an ISO Class 4 rating is tremendous for our citizens in both the city and the county. It's very exciting when you get to announce something that's going to save your citizens money. But it also lets them know how well protected they are."

Beck said one aspect that has kept them constantly on their toes is how much things have changed over time.

And when times change, so do you.

"When we started back in 1992," Beck said. "We were protecting around 4,000 people. Now, we're protecting approximately 8,000. So, we have our stations spread out the proper road distance and it's all coming around together now."

It's a process that requires help from everyone.

"Last year," Jones said. "This citizens of Brookland passed a two-cent sales tax to put a 400,000-gallon elevated water storage tank in. It's probably three-quarters installed now. By the fall, we'll have the new well, the new well house and that should be online. And so, hopefully in the near future, we'll be able to go back and look at some of these changes that we're making as a city and be able to even get us a little bit of an even lower rate."

Jones said he was very proud of the work that so many people had managed to accomplish together to help the community they lived in.

"To think of where those guys were way back when," Jones said. "And to see how these guys have worked so hard to get you to where you are now, it makes you very proud. Very proud to be associated with a fine group of people like this that work very hard, no pay and volunteer for their community."

Beck says what they've accomplished is good, but they're not done yet.

"We've already started working to an ISO Class 3," Beck said. "We feel like that it's possible in the next two years."

Beck says the department makes about one run a day, with about 80% of their calls being medical runs.

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