Evidence of significant growth is apparent in most areas within the Town of Prosper, soon to include the pending addition of about 100 feet of vertical firefighting capability.
At the Oct. 9 Town Council meeting, the community’s governing body approved the purchase of a new ladder truck for the Fire Department, boosting the department’s firefighting capabilities and increasing the certainty of an improved Public Protection Classification (PPC), commonly called an ISO (Insurance Services Office) Rating.
Already assigned an ISO Rating of 2, the addition of the new apparatus virtually assures that the rating will be reassigned to 1, the ISO’s highest, making Prosper residents and businesses eligible for the most favorable rates on property insurance.
Council approved the ordering and purchase of a Pierce Ascendant 100-foot Mid-Mount Platform, the latest version of what are known as ladder trucks, capable of elevating water hoses and personnel 100 feet in the air to fight fires, execute rescues and perform other tasks at that height.
While the new ladder truck will take a year to construct, the Fire Department will use a loaned version of the apparatus for training and familiarization. That loaner, in fact, will be used to make the case for the improved rating.
“The truck build-time will be approximately 12 months and will be manufactured in Appleton, Wisconsin,” says Fire Chief Stuart Blasingame. “We’re working with the manufacturer’s representative, Siddons-Martin Emergency Group, to receive a loaner aerial truck to use during the interim to pursue our ISO-1.”
ISO reviews are conducted months ahead of a rating determination, usually announced in June of each year.
The tallest ladders in the Prosper Fire Department inventory are 24 feet high, making it difficult to address emergencies from more advantageous positions. When confronted with the need for higher vantage point, the department has required the mutual-aid assistance of departments in Frisco, McKinney or Little Elm. Mutual-aid requests, however, will always fall behind local needs for these departments.
“We not only expect the addition of this ladder truck to improve our ISO PPC rating, but it will allow firefighters access to large residential homes, commercial buildings, large educational facilities, and taller structures that we know are coming,” he said.
Several multi-family residential buildings, Town Hall, a car dealership and several planned buildings are a minimum of three stories high, and a number of developments are planned for five to seven stories.
In addition to the upgraded inventory, consistent training of firefighters, state-of-the-art dispatch communication and ample water supply, ISO ratings take other actuarial factors into consideration when auditing a community.
“The ladder truck is the one piece of the ISO equation that will get our community both the highest level of protection, and the best rates for our property insurance,” added the Chief.