NewsOctober 25 2017

Fire protection improves in Reliance area

Posted by Lucy

Fire protection improves in Reliance area
Lucy Halverson/LCH 
  The extra hours of training for members of the Reliance Fire Department to become certified in structural fire fighting and earn a “yellow card” has paid off for the community of Reliance, as the Structural Fire Insurance rating has dropped from a 10 to a 7. 
  An ISO (Insurance Service Office) evaluates every aspect of a city, including fire hydrants and its fire department to identify the ISO rating that is used by some insurance companies to set premiums. The ISO rating is from 10 – 1 with 1 being the best. The Reliance Fire Department was recently notified that the ISO rating for Reliance has been improved from a 10 down to a 7 effective January 1, 2018. 
  The improvement in this rating could improve home insurance costs in the Reliance area,” said Fire Chief Shane Reis. “But more importantly, it shows your local department is improving at what we do.” 
  Earning a yellow card for structural fire certification were Reis, Assistant Fire Chief Brent Hofer and Aaron Schindler. In addition, several other Reliance firefighters attended some of the classes and training as they could.  
  The desire to upgrade and improve the Reliance Fire Department started several years ago, but the push for more classroom and hands on training came this past year.  
  In 2017, this has already led to clocking over 500 hours of training for our small department,” he said. “Several of our 17 active firefighters took the “yellow card” classes for structural fire skill and we are urging more to do so in the future.” 
  Several area departments have pursued the “yellow card” and realize the importance of knowledge it represents.  
  We salute and thank any firefighter who commits to the long process of receiving their certification,” Reis added. 
  The additional training along with recent improvements in fire engines and tenders and other upgrades at Reliance have led to the major community benefit of an improved ISO rating.  
  To illustrate the changes needed to upgrade to this rating, the first area addressed was equipment improvement. 
  Reis stated that the department purchased new bunker gear about ten years ago and added a pumper for larger water output about five years ago. A new tender for more water storage was added in 2016. The self-contained breathing apparatus equipment (SCBA) was upgraded to lighter tanks for easier maneuverability and longer duration in dangerous smoke situations, and a SCBA refilling station was installed in the Reliance Fire Hall. 
  Reliance firemen cooperated with the Chamberlain/Oacoma Fire Department this year for the certifications, and after the classroom instruction was completed; they participated in multiple department trainings, such as vehicle extrication, a smoke house, and a propane burn tree. 
  These group exercises, conducted among several departments, leads to better team work and communications between departments that may not work together on a common basis,” said Reis.  
   A few firefighters from Reliance also participated in a structure burn simulator taught by the Platte Fire Department, where they operated live hoses with real flames in a 300 degree plus environment. 
  In the last year, the Reliance fireman have also upgraded their communication system. 
  More hand-held radios, with cordless microphones were purchased along with in-vehicle charging stations to improve communication out in the field. A base station to communicate from the fire hall to the fire was also installed. To ensure a quicker response time a new notification system was established with assistance from Kennebec Telephone Company. The new system has improved the number of firefighters responding to calls.  
  Good communication is one of the most important resources for firefighter safety,” said Reis. 
   All of these pieces added together plus the dedication of local volunteers have led to the ISO improvement for the Reliance community. 
  We hope to continually improve the rating in the future, and believe it is just a reflection and a good reward for the things a department should be doing already,” he said.  
  The Reliance Firemen thank the community for their continued financial support of the department and the many other entities that made these improvements possible.

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