Arlington Heights Fire Department Regains ISO 1 Rating

The Arlington Heights Fire Department has received the Insurance Services Office (ISO) top rating of Class 1 under the leadership of Fire Chief Ken Koeppen. ISO is the insurance industry’s leading source of information about property/casualty risk. In general, fire insurance premiums are lower for communities with top ISO ratings. However, several insurance companies, including State Farm, have stopped purchasing ISO data to calculate premiums.

The ISO Class 1 rating has been achieved by less than 200 of 47,000 fire departments nationwide, 1/3 of 1%.

“Obviously we are thrilled to receive this very prestigious rating,” said Fire Chief Ken Koeppen. “Our firefighters are dedicated, well-trained and committed to being the best. This recognition is very important to them.”

In addition to evaluating the Fire Department’s training, apparatus, and response capabilities, ISO also assesses water supply, dispatch operations and fire prevention programs. “Receiving the ISO 1 rating is one more mark of excellence in Arlington Heights – a great community that prides itself on providing premier services to our residents,” said Mayor Thomas W. Hayes.

Pictured from left are Fire Chief Kenneth Koeppen, Deputy Chiefs Bernie Lyons and Pete Ahlman, along with Village Manager Randall Recklaus, who received the ISO 1 designation on October 5, 2016 at the Fire Department Headquarters.

The Fire Department’s ISO Class 1 rating is a reflection of the Village of Arlington Heights’ commitment to provide the best possible public safety services to its residents and businesses. “We are very fortunate in Arlington Heights. Our Village Board has always supported our commitment to excellence,” said Chief Koeppen. “Our Public Works Department provides us with one of the best water supply systems in the area, our Building Department has an excellent fire inspection program, our Human Resources Department works hard to provide us with the best and brightest candidates, and we receive remarkable support from our citizens. The ISO Class 1 rating is an achievement the whole Village should be proud of.”

ISO’s assessment of Northwest Central Dispatch System’s capabilities also contributed to the Class 1 rating. NWCDS provides emergency dispatching services for the Village from its award-winning, state-of-the-art communications center that is considered one of the best in the nation.

The Arlington Heights Fire Department first obtained the ISO 1 rating in 1997 under the leadership of Fire Chief Bruce Rodewald, who worked hard to modernize the fleet of fire department vehicles, and modernize other categories of the fire department. However, Arlington Heights Fire Department was dropped to ISO 2 in 2010 under the leadership of Fire Chief Glenn Ericksen — probably by issues outside reasonable control. The exact ratings system is guarded by the Insurance Services Office, but in 2010 former Village Manager Bill Dixon told the Daily Herald that Arlington Heights would have had to add a fifth fire station and at least 24 firefighters to maintain the ISO 1 rating. The concern was possibly related to the response time to the west side of Arlington Heights near Arlington International Racecourse. However, Arlington Heights then had, and currently has, a solid mutual aid agreement with Rolling Meadows Fire Department, which has a fire station less than 2 miles from Arlington International Racecourse. In some areas in western Arlington Heights, the nearest Rolling Meadows fire station is less than one mile to nearby Arlington Heights neighborhoods. As in 2010, first due fire response needs are met by Rolling Meadows Fire Department in those western neighborhoods. In exchange, Arlington Heights Fire Department responds to areas in southeast Rolling Meadows near Golf Road and New Wilke Road.

The ISO Class 1 rating is a confirmation of the Arlington Heights Fire Department’s dedication to its mission to protect lives and property, and to its motto, “Committed to Excellence.”

See also …
Daily Herald Arlington Heights loses top fire rating

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