On August 9, 2011, the Pecan Grove Municipal Utility District (PG MUD) authorized a contract for professional services with Consultant Mike Pietsch, PE, to prepare a Fire Suppression Rating Study using an ISO grading system to what a future ISO PPC rating might look like for the Pecan Grove area. On October 14, 2011, Mr. Pietsch’s Fire Suppression Rating Study was made public and posted to the PG MUD website. The PG MUD is misleading our residents by making this study look like an official ISO PPC rating by its choice of words and links on their own webpage. However, Consultant Pietsch is not associated with the Insurance Services Office and his study will not change the current ISO PPC rating of 3 that Pecan Grove currently enjoys from the last official ISO PPC rating in 2006. Also, since most residents are not familiar with what an ISO PPC rating means and how it might affect them, the PGVFD feels our residents deserve an explanation. The Insurance Services Office is an organization that provides a standardized assessment of over 58,000 fire departments across the United States. An ISO PPC survey rates each fire department on its ability to fight fires (only) based on a standardize scoring system that evaluates how well they handle 911 calls, how their fire department operates concerning training, manpower and equipment, and the local water supply available to fight fires. After an official ISO PPC survey, each fire department is assigned an ISO Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating from 1 to 10 with 1 being the best rating.However, the ISO PPC rating ONLY generates a score based on fighting structure fires (houses and commercial buildings). The ISO PPC rating does not take into account all of the other services a fire department provides such as EMS calls, Hazardous Materials (HazMat) or this year’s grass fires.Last year the PGVFD responded to over 700 calls, only 15 of the calls were for structure fires.In reality, the ISO PPC rating only applies to about 2% of all the calls that the PGVFD responds to in an average year. Despite this, the rating study by Consultant Pietsch is still an important document for the Pecan Grove Volunteer Fire Department (PGVFD) as it helps demonstrate the continuous improvement made by our department for the residents of Pecan Grove.In 1999, the PGVFD received an official ISO PPC rating of 5.In 2006, the PGVFD was resurveyed and our official ISO PPC rating increased to a 3.The ISO representative that performed our 2006 survey at the time listed three items that would increase our chances of improving our ISO PPC rating to a 2: 1)Improve our dispatch times through the Sheriff’s Department 2)Provide additional manning and training 3)Add a second fire station to lower response times In 2007 a goal was set to improve the ISO PPC rating of PGVFD to a 2.The Ft Bend Sheriff’s department revamped their 911 system in 2011.Our training program was redesigned and expanded to include training with neighboring fire departments.And recently, we broke ground on our second fire station in August, 2011.Our new station should be fully operational by January 2012 providing a faster response time to the northern half of Pecan Grove.All the ISO representative’s suggestions have been implemented and we feel that we are well on our way to improving our ISO PPC rating to a 2. So why do we believe this? The PGVFD hired the Consultant Pietsch in 2005 to help our department get ready for our ISO PPC survey.During our pre-survey, Consultant Pietsch scored our department a 66.27or an unofficial ISO PPC of 4. Mr. Pietsch had a few minor recommendations on some equipment changes and a major recommendation of adding a second station in the vicinity of Farmer Road and Oyster Creek to lower response times to the HOA and POA sections of Pecan Grove.We were able to make some of the equipment changes.In 2006, the PGVFD made a request to have our ISO PPC rating resurveyed.At the conclusion of the official ISO PPC survey, our score was a 72.94 or an ISO PPC rating of 3.This is the current rating and will be until the PGVFD requests the next ISO PPC resurvey rating be done for the Pecan Grove area.Mr. Pietsch normally scores fire departments very conservatively to keep realistic expectations for the official ISO survey.In our case, he was 6.6 points lower than the official ISO PPC rating. In the most recent rating study performed by Consultant Pietsch last month, the PGVFD scored a 68.58 or an unofficial ISO PPC rating of 4.Mr. Pietsch did not resurvey the improved 911 system upgrades, nor did he take into account the new fire station and new fire truck.Keeping this in mind, our score improved by 2.34 points. The PGVFD made a special follow-up request to Mr. Pietsch to provide a what-if rating study on what additional points the new fire station and new fire truck would add.According to Mr. Pietsch, the new station and new fire truck would add in anywhere from 6 to 8 points which would raise our score up to 74-76 points or an unofficial ISO PPC rating of 3.Adding in the possible additional points for the improved 911 system upgrades and a margin of error for a conservative rating study, we are fully expecting to receive when the official ISO PPC survey is done an improved score in the 80-82 range.This would give the PGVFD an ISO PPC rating of a 2 and would meet our goal. The Pecan Grove Volunteer Fire Department would like to remind the residents of Pecan Grove that all of these continual improvements have been done without the need for a mandatory Fire Service fee, without the need to raise our voluntary donation rate of $7 per household, and without the need for a District Fire Plan.Please continue to support the Pecan Grove Volunteer Fire Department by voicing your opposition to the proposed Fire MUD Plan to the PG MUD district. Thank you, Pecan Grove V.F.D.
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