South Jacksonville Fire Dept. Receives New ISO Classification, New EMS Truck

By Benjamin Cox on February 6, 2024 at 7:56am

The South Jacksonville Fire Department has been awarded a new ISO classification.

The Insurance Services Office provides statistical information on risk for communities, which affects homeowners’ insurance rates. ISO is a nation-wide organization that rates more than 46,000 fire departments throughout the United States on their overall ability to respond to fires. Classification ratings range from 1 to 10, with 1 being the top rating. Higher classification ratings of a fire department reflect overall protection, typically leading to better rates received by community members.

Fire Chief Rich Evans, Jr. says that South Jacksonville’s rating improved by a point from their previous rank 7 years ago: “It’s a multi-step process that includes dispatch, the water department and water system, as well as the fire department’s operations and training…all sorts of things. Once those are all presented, they put their numbers together. We received our paperwork and rating follow up this past week. Our rating went from a 5 to a 4, which is an improvement. I thank all the parties involved. Dispatch has done a lot of work. The Water Department has done a lot of work. The fire department and my staff have helped do some of those things to get us where we are at now.”

One of the improvements is a brand new truck that hit the streets this past week. Evans says that it will be used primarily for medical calls to save on wear and tear to the bigger vehicles: “We just bought a Ford F-250. Just this [past] week everything got finalized with decals, all the equipment, and the Illinois Department of Public Health inspection passed. Everyone will be seeing it out on the road. It will be our main EMS unit here in the village and in any other community that calls for our assistance. It’s a great asset to the fire department and to the community.”

The arrival of the truck is right on time, as one of the ladder trucks has been pulled out of service until further notice as it failed to pass inspection on one of the ladders. Evans says that the inspector would not pass it due to the ladder beginning to rust from the inside out. Evans says that the Village Board will have to make a financial decision on either repairing or replacing the truck, which is a 1992 unit that was purchased secondhand some years ago.

Overall, Evans says that he’s working on grants to continue to update small equipment and keep the department continuing in a positive direction with a look towards the future.