Victorville Fire Department Receives Second Highest ISO Rating for Efficiency

The Victorville Fire Department will soon rank among the top 6% of all fire departments nationwide after being rated on its effectiveness, city officials said.

VFD has improved its ISO score, awarded by Insurance Services Office, from Class 3 to Class 2, which is the second highest rating a fire department can achieve.

A Class 2 rating puts the Victorville agency — which the city started operating again in 2019 — “in an elite group of just 1,873 fire departments in the country,” officials said.

“We are extremely proud of our Victorville Fire Department for achieving such a favorable ISO rating in just three years after transitioning to a city-run service,” said Mayor Debra Jones. “This achievement underscores our City’s commitment to providing excellent public safety services to our community.

The new rating comes into effect on July 1.

The ISO uses several factors to determine the proper functioning of a fire department. The overall health of the department, such as training, number of employees, maintenance and testing of equipment, accounts for 50% of the score.

ISO also evaluates the available water supply, emergency communication system and community risk reduction when determining a grade.

An ISO score “has the power to affect every homeowner’s insurance premium in the area and can even cause an insurer to deny you coverage in certain circumstances,” according to Bankrate.

Victorville Fire Department personnel talk to each other at extension 311 in May 2019.

The VFD was last rated in 2016. Typically, fire departments are rated every 10 years or when a significant change occurs, city officials said.

In March 2019, Victorville resumed running the department after 10 years of contracting fire services with the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

The city hired a new chief, Jeff Armstrong, last year to lead the department after former chief Greg Benson – who oversaw the transition – stepped down in 2020.

Using Measure P revenue from the one-cent sales tax, Victorville was able to staff a fire station on Eucalyptus Street that had never opened since it was built in 2009.

“Our ISO rating serves as a valuable benchmark for how well Victorville Fire adheres to national standards and industry best practices, and we’re proud to have accomplished this on behalf of the community,” Armstrong said Thursday. “I am proud to be part of this exceptional team of professionals.”

Daily Press journalist Martin Estacio can be reached at 760-955-5358 or ME [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DP_mestacio.

Sara H. Byrd