In 2017 we began the process of reviewing our department. This is to ensure that we are keeping up with the latest changes in technology, information, training, and equipment. We want to ensure that everything we do reflect the changes in understanding of fires, rescue operations, and medical emergencies. To that end we consulted with the ISO review board in order to have our township evaluated. This allowed ensure that our rankings matched with where we were as a department, and also to see how we can do better.
Following that review we have been designated with an ISO PPC Ranking of 6/6Y. The split ranking is due to the fact that our township is not fully covered by fire hydrants. The 6Y designation indicates that the protection in those areas not covered by a fire hydrant remain at a level 6 given the ability to establish a water source.
The above graph shows the countrywide distribution of ISO/PPC rankings. At this time Jackson Township is doing very well around the middle of the pack in Class 6. We are excited to able to improve those rankings, and with it our ability to effectively protect our community. With the help of this investigation we were able to identify a number of areas that we can target for improvement. Our primary goal is to move up to a Class 5 or better fire district.
Once we received the report began working to implement a plan to better the department. There were two major points that we found that could have a great impact on our ability to improve, training and equipment.
The training of our firefighters has always been a priority for this department. This report helped determine some areas where this could be improved. To that end, we took on an initiative to ensure that our department had the necessary training and certifications. Under a grant from the State Fire Marshall we sent a number of our firefighters to the Mahoning County Career and Technical Center (MCCTC) in order to receive, at a minimum, their Firefighter I certification. Along with this all new firefighters hired are sent for that certification. This is the same certification used by many of our neighboring communities full time fire departments.
The next thing that we have undertaken in order to improve training is a review of classes available at the State Fire Academy in Columbus, Ohio. There we are able to send firefighters for specialized training that can assist us in operations. These classes range from the grain bin training three of our firefighters attended at the end of last year to high angle rope rescues, confined spaces, and many others. With these improvement we will be better equipped to handle any of the emergencies that those within our community face.
The next piece of the puzzle requires your help. That is the purchasing of new equipment. We have chosen to seek a tax levy which will allow us to buy a new fire engine and equipment. The goal here is bring us up to the current standards. In a future article we will discuss what those needs are and how purchasing a new engine will help us better meet and exceed those needs!