Fire award

Josh Eads, center, of the Maricopa Fire and Medical Department receives an Employee Award of Excellence from Fire Chief Brady Leffler, left, and City Manager Gregory Rose.

MARICOPA — The Maricopa Fire and Medical Department made a big announcement Tuesday that not only benefits the department, but also benefits the city and its residents.

On Sept. 1, MFMD officials found out it had received an improved Insurance Services Office rating. ISO provides Public Protection Classifications, which measures the effectiveness of the major elements of a fire protection system.

PPC rates fire entities on a scale from 1 to 9 — 1 being the best and 9 being the worst. Prior to 2017, MFMD was ranked as a 5.

MFMD Chief Brady Leffler said this was based on multiple areas that needed improvement. including records management, staffing of units, public education, water supply and more.

However, MFMD is now rated as an ISO Class 2. Leffler said not only does this make his department comparable to nearby departments like Chandler and Phoenix, but it also puts MFMD in the top 3.4 percent of departments nationwide.

“It’s a huge deal, and I’m very proud of the staff,” he said. “This is attributed to the people who put in countless hours of work.”

The department’s workload was increased further because it relocated its headquarters during the process of working toward the improved ISO rating.

Assistant Chief John Storm, who oversaw the ISO review, said the department can use these classifications as a benchmark for progress. He said, at this point, he sees 2 as an appropriate rating.

“It was a bit of an undertaking,” he said. “When we took over, we saw the potential with what we got and saw the tweaks we needed to make.”

With the new classification also comes some potential benefits to Maricopa residents. Storm said representatives from Allstate, American Family and some smaller, local insurance companies have stated that Maricopa residents and business owners could see a 10 to 15 percent reduction in their annual premiums, based off the improved rating. Residents need to contact their individual companies to see if they qualify.

Although the new classification is a drastic improvement, the department said it still isn’t finished with regard to what he hopes to accomplish. The department wants to use this information as a strategic planning tool to consider additional changes.

Leffler said the department wants this classification to be a precursor to accreditation.

“We’re not ready for accreditation yet,” he said. “We’re working toward that, but it’s a little bit of a different animal with respect to preparation and the amount of things they cover. And it’s expensive.”

The ISO rating was done at no cost to the department.