Fire Department Analyzed for Deficiencies

Study nearly complete after two months of data gathering.

Washington Township’s insurance classification for its fire department, along with deficiencies within that organization, will be announced within the next couple of weeks after an in-depth analysis was created by Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO).

Representatives Robert Cobb and Scott Rauch described how the company creates its analysis of various fire departments in front of the Washington Township Committee and about 30 members of the , Long Valley and companies.

Particulars weren’t released however, due to company policy.

“We only give the proprietary information to the department chief and mayor and their staffs,” Cobb said. “The officials can then do what they want and share the information with whomever they choose afterward.”

The analysis takes more than just the department’s apparatus and members into account, as it scopes the entire community for water supply, distance of buildings from a fire station, communications, and other various data points.

“Once we have all the data, we classify each part,” Cobb said. “You can have a (highly-rated) class 3 fire department and a class 7 communications system. We look at everything.”

Once the analysis is complete, Rauch will meet with Washington Township Mayor Ken Short and fire department chief Craig Wallenstein. Aside from the classifications set by ISO, the company will also make the fire department aware of any deficiencies it sees, from equipment problems to water supply shortages in town.

The analysis, spanning approximately 35 pages, took about two months to complete for Washington Township, Cobb said.

None of the analysis or work comes at a cost to the township, as nine of the 10 largest insurers in the country work with ISO and retain its services.

The findings can directly affect homeowners as well, Cobb said.

If the study shows a lack of water supply or hydrant in a specific area, and the township installs one, insurance companies will decrease a homeowner’s premium if that hydrant is within 1,000 feet of the home.

The analysis also takes future instances into consideration, set for the Long Valley Fire Co. 

Tracy Tobin September 14, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Jason Poor choice of words for your headline. The ISO does an overall assessment of fire protection capabilities within the Township, including availability of water supply, road infrastructure access to homes/businesses, types/size/number of commercial properties/etc. Certainly the types and number of fire apparatus, location, number of trained fire fighters, etc. are factors in the assessment. Lack of public water supply in a large part of the town is not a "Fire Department Deficiency", yet that will be part of the ISO rating of overall fire protection capabilities. Tracy Tobin
Alan September 14, 2012 at 06:23 PM
Those "fancy painted suvs" are asigned to the Fire Chief's of the department. They are used for incident command. Each vehicle is set up with radios and other items needed by the incident commander (person in charge of an incident) to run an incident.
Tracy Tobin September 14, 2012 at 06:49 PM
Claire The SUV's are purchased and paid for by the individual Fire Companies. The Fire Companies turn them over to the Town for $1 dollar, with the option to "buy them back" for $1 when they can no longer be kept in service. They have been lasting in excess of 10 years on average. An incident includes house fires, auto fires, brush fires, mutual aid to other towns, flooding, etc.
Reality Chuck September 16, 2012 at 12:30 PM
"The SUV's are purchased and paid for by the individual Fire Companies"....do they print their own money? Who pays the Fire Dept to pay for the vehicles? Even Gen Douglas McCarthur used an old jeep for "Incident Command"......I'll buy one for $2...A 100% profit for the Fire Dept.
jane doe September 16, 2012 at 03:27 PM
I fully support the long valley fire departments and respect what the do for our own and surrounding towns. When there is an accident, a house fire, or even just a faulty smoke alarm... Who responds? They do. They always do. So who really cares if they have fancy paint. Like it has been noted, these fire departmentments pay for their own fancy painted SUVs. Don't they deserve it? These people that are commenting about this are probably the ones that roll their windows up at coin tosses or pass up delicious pancake breakfasts. What are super heroes without capes... These heroes of ours deserve to stand out.
Hattori Hanzo September 16, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Well Claire, Alan gave you an answer but he left a lot out. Those fancy SUV's are given to the fire chiefs of each department. There are also cars as well, so with three fire departments (LV would be fine with just Fairmount and Schooley's) and a safe estimate of atleast two to three SUV's/cars for each department, that is 6 to 9 vehicles. Now these vehicles are fueled on township gas and are maintenanced at the town DPW, so in less fancy words, your tax dollars. These vehicles are driven around town by the volunteer chief(s) with no restrictions. Now I am sure they cannot drive their command vehicle into PA, or NY, or any other great distance. But when you see that SUV driving around without its lights on, thats just the Chief running home, or to Krauszer's, etc... Nice perk huh? You get to cruise around town on the publics dime, doing nothing but your personal errands.
Hattori Hanzo September 16, 2012 at 03:54 PM
Stop. LV rarely has a serious fire incident. These volunteer companies skew their numbers, stating we responded to this many alarms, etc... I want to know how many legitimate fires, actual flaming fires, these guys and girls respond to each year, not just false alarms. And besides it will be the cops that get there first and save you.
jane doe September 16, 2012 at 04:29 PM
Of course the cops make it there first. They are paid. It is there job to serve and protect. And I will say that they also do a great job. But our firemen are volunteers. They are leaving there paid jobs, skipping out on dinners, and waking up in the middle of the night to respond to these 'false alarms'. We do have fires, but now tell me... Isn't a good thing that we don't have that many flaming dangerous fires, I would think that means we are all doing a great job as a community to prevent them.
Hattori Hanzo September 16, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Of course it is a good thing we do not have a lot of fires. And since we can agree on that, we must also think along the same lines when it comes to new fire trucks. Since, as you said, we don't have a lot of legitimate fires, then our three fire companies (again, two would suffice) do not need new, million dollar trucks.
jane doe September 16, 2012 at 05:02 PM
That's great that you agree as well. I think this town does an all around amazing job at everything they do. But I haven't mentioned anything about million dollar trucks just fancy brightly painted SUV's that are paid for and well deserved by our volunteered heroes.
TJL September 16, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Hattori - Please explain how the fire department skews their numbers. Their calls are are public record. In fact, Schooley's Mountain publishes on their website the location and type of all of their responses. The only person skewing their numbers is you when you claim their fire trucks cost a million dollars a piece. Also, the vehicle use policy for their command vehicles (1 per company, BTW) is a township policy, also available to the public.
Hattori Hanzo September 17, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Here is how the numbers are skewed. A smoke alarm goes off an one or more trucks from three different fire companies show up. Wow! Look at that, that is one call for each of them. DId any of them actually do anything? No! So, unless it is a real fire/emergency it should not count as a call. The same thing for mutual aid. Some other town has a real emergency and they call on one or more of our fire companies to assist. If our assisting companies do nothing over there, then that should not be a call either. If they assist then it should be, simple as that.
Tracy Tobin September 17, 2012 at 07:43 PM
To All The SUV's are paid for out of money raised by the volunteers, not the money budgeted by the Town Committee. A call is counted, whether there is a fire or not, because the volunteers have to leave home or work to respond and the trucks have to roll until an alarm is called off. The number of companies dispatched to a call was reduced several years ago. Please provide date and times when you have seen all three companies arrive at a non-working fire scene. Mutual Aid is called out by the town responsible for the call. There is no way to judge how many companies will respond, so some equipment may not be released until after they are on the scene. There is personal use of the Chiefs car because he/she responds directly to the alarm scene when it comes in. If they are at the store, a gas station, etc. they don't have to drive to the fire house to pick up the incident command vehicle before proceeding to the call location. Look up the cost of paid fire personnel (Salary, insurance, vacation, sick time, retirement, etc.) and tell me if it is more cost effective than volunteers. (Complaining about the lack of "serious" structure fires in town is like complaining that you pay life insurance premiums every month and have not collected a dime yet. My opinion.)
Pat McNeal September 18, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Let's not paint our emergency vehicles to look like emergency vehicles to save a dime of money earned through volunteer fundraising? Let’s also complain about those same volunteers who leave their homes and families in the middle of the night because your smoke detector went off (even though they still have to wake up for a full day of work at 5am), or during thanksgiving dinner because you burnt your turkey and filled your house with smoke, or during their kids first soccer game because your kid got into a car accident and needs to be extricated, or because it rained and you need your basement pumped out. Think before you speak, the comments in this thread make about as much sense as doing away with the volunteer fire department and providing each resident with a fire extinguisher and garden hose because “LV rarely has a serious fire incident”. These guys and gals do much more for the town than most people are aware of and I bet the minute you find yourself in one of the situations mentioned in the paragraph above, you’ll be thanking your lucky stars when you see that “fancy painted SUV” coming your way.
Emily L Elsasser September 18, 2012 at 10:09 PM
TO ALL, join your local fire depts to find out what certain things are actually used for before you open your mouths making stupid comments that only make YOU look stupid.  I am a 24 year old female from town who has been a FIREFIGHTER for the Schooleys Mt Fire Dept for the past 7 years.  Claire, do you know what we go thru in order to make sure your house doesnt burn to the ground, not only that but the car accident you get into, or the CO hazard amongst many other calls that we respond to that are NOT fires but are just as important?!?!  For the record the fire company is very responsible with the use of their vehicles, one of the reasons being to prevent people like you from thinking they are just used for fun... We are human beings just like you and it is absolutley ridiculous what you have said about people from your own town, who without even thinking twice put their lives on the line to save yours...think before you speak.  Reality Chuck?!?!  Really?? Stop commenting. 
Emily L Elsasser September 18, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Hattori Hanzo, stop at the Schooleys Mt Fire Dept on a Monday night at 730 pm and ask anyone there to see the numbers. Maybe instead of making ridiculous comments for something you have nooo clue about try getting your butt up and joining and then you'll see what we go thru. I myself and many others will be quick to tell you we dont have "fires", luckily for our town and community. We have plenty of other calls that we respond to that need EMERGENCY VOLUNTEER RESPONSE!!!   AND FOR THE RECORD POLICE DO NOT HAVE ANY SIMILAR FIRE TRAINING WHERE THEY ARE ABLE TO ENTER A BURNING BULIDING AND SAVE ANYONE'S LIFE THE WAY A CERTIFIED FIREFIGHTER CAN!!!
Emily L Elsasser September 18, 2012 at 10:10 PM
Claire, again, are you on any of the fire depts in town?!?! I don't know you, so NO!! Stop claiming that you know things that you dont! And if you are not satisfied with what you think your donation is being used for, please by all means stop donating! (by the way, the apparatus is the most important part of the safety equipment, it gets us from point A to point B WITH ALL THE SAFETY EQUIPTMENT ON IT, OH AND THE WATER!!!)    This is so disgusting to me how community members can talk so poorly about their own town's volunteer fire depts.  Jason, I'm sorry I am going to have to agree, this may not have been the best article to post, especially with the title you selected.
Emily L Elsasser September 18, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Oh and to shut down the issue regarding the multiple companies at emergency scenes, WE ALL HAVE REGULAR JOBS, so during the day time when many of us are at our regular jobs, there are not many volunteer firefighters in the area that are able to respond, so rather than having 2 people show up to an incident that may require many, all the TOWN COMPANIES ARE PAGED TO GET AS MUCH MANPOWER ON SCENE SO WE ARE ABLE TO RESOLVE THE EMERGENCY!!!! Oh and for the record, the "fancy paint" you all speak about...THEY'RE STICKERS!!! Foiled... Mr Tobin, thank you for trying to defend us and what we do, no one will truly understand until they need us. -Emily Elsasser 
Tracy Tobin September 19, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Claire What do you mean by "Many fireman fillup too"? Sounds like some sort of accusation, so please be specific.
Tracy Tobin September 19, 2012 at 02:10 AM
Police units will normally arrive at an incident scene before Fire and First Aid because the patrol officer is already in their vehicle and on the road. They do not need to travel to a Fire House or First Aid Station and wait for additional trained and certified personnel to arrive, to meet State mandated requirements, before "driving emergency rigs" to the incident scene. What the responding officer(s) can do is start basic emergency medical response steps while the First Aid rig and personnel are enroute and alert residents to evacuate their home(s) if necessary while the fire company is enroute. The primary responsibility of Fire, First Aid and Police are to save lives. Property comes second as harsh as that may sound. A home, car, etc. can usually be replaced, but a person is gone forever. It would be great if all comments and responses on Patch blogs, Face Book, etc. could be calm and logical but a lot of people get emotional when someone disagrees with them.
Domino September 19, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Emily, thank you for all of your posts. There seems to be a stupidity epidemic in Long Valley. I'm glad you pointed that out to some of these people.


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