North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue, the fire department that serves Union City, North Bergen, Guttenberg, West New York and Guttenberg, has been ranked as one of the safest departments in the state by the Insurance Service Organization.Â
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
NHRF&R has been awarded a top notch fire safety rating by the Insurance Service Organization, making it one of only 14 fire departments to achieve a 2 rating by the ISO out of 688 departments that were evaluated, placing them in the top 2 percent in the state, according to a release issued yesterday.
This represents a significant improvement over the 4 rating that NHRF&R received when it was last evaluated in 2004. This is only the second time ISO evaluated the department since it was formed back in 1999.
“When North Hudson Regional Fire & Rescue was created, our goal was to create not just a more efficient department to protect taxpayer resources, but to build the very best fire protection unit in the state,” said Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner, who is also the NHRF&R board chairman.
“This impressive rating from the ISO speaks to the success we have had and shows how far we have come. It’s a testament to the hard work of each and every one of brave men who put their lives on the line to protect our citizens and to the solid management structure we have put in place to better serve our communities.”
The ISO fire safety ratings are a comprehensive system that evaluates three primary areas of fire protection: Fire Department, Communication and Water Supply, as well as several other subcategories.
Additionally, the ratings take into account each department’s equipment, training, manpower, response times, dispatching and many other factors.
ISO ratings are seen as a primary means of evaluating the effectiveness of fire departments and are scaled from 1 to 10 with 1 being the highest and 10 being the lowest. Nearly 80 percent of New Jersey fire departments received 3, 4 or 5 ratings.
“Improving NHRF&R’s ISO fire safety rating has been among my highest goals since I became chief of the department and I am very proud to see our hard work be recognized,” said NHRF&R Chief Frank Montagne.
“This rating could not have been achieved without the efforts of our entire staff and especially the support of our administration, management committee and host mayors. We all work very hard each and every day to keep our communities safe from fires and other disasters and residents should feel even safer after seeing this rating.”
Furthermore, ISO fire safety ratings also may have an effect on residential and commercial property insurance premiums with higher-rated communities often seeing lower premiums.
Therefore, the department is encouraging all residential and commercial policy holders within the five municipalities it serves to contact their insurance providers to determine if they are eligible for a rate decrease.
Insurance rate decisions are controlled by many factors, which include ISO ratings, at the discretion of the individual insurance carriers and are not controlled by NHRF&R or ISO.