Winfield Foley Fire Protection District Begins Enforcing Ordinances.

In an effort to lower ISO (Insurance Service Organization) ratings within the district and to maintain the mission of fire prevention among the community, the Board of Directors adopted and passed ICC (International Code Council) regulations through district ordinances.

The community has experienced extraordinary residential and commercial growth which has put a huge strain on the District. This growth can also strain community resources. New construction, increasing population, and expanding economic activity place demands on a wide variety of municipal services, including fire protection. In many places, the need to enlarge and improve the fire service comes just at a time when other priorities are competing for the same budget dollars.

Most communities consider growth a good thing. Development brings prosperity to rural areas everywhere. But the results can be devastating. If the fire department, emergency services and communications along with the water supply cannot keep up with the demand, a growing community faces increasing risk of property loss and injuries.

Winfield Foley is using all resources available in an effort to keep up with growth and demand through grant requests, adoption of ICC codes, fire prevention and safety, and meeting with local businesses, residents and elected officials. The District has received FEMA homeland security grants which have provided public education, safety and fire mitigation. Additional grants have allowed for new gear and new apparatus. Many more grants have been applied for which are still pending.

After many public hearings and publications, the Board of Director of the District adopted the ICC codes and enacted ordinances as early as March 14, 2002 and as recently as September 14, 2005. These ordinances will prescribe minimum requirements and conditions to safe guard life, property and public welfare from the hazards of fire and explosions. Adopting basic fire control measures and regulations for conditions which could impede or interfere with emergency duties are essential to the District’s mission.

ISO is a leading source of information about risk. ISO serves the insurance marketplace with statistical, actuarial, underwriting, and claims data. Property/casualty insurance companies have long supported the efforts of individual communities to maintain and improve their fire protection services. ISO’s PPC (Public Protection Classification) program helps insurance companies measure and evaluate the effectiveness of fire mitigation services throughout the country. The PPC program offers economical benefits in the form of lower insurance premiums for communities that invest in their firefighting services.

For each of the more than 46,000 fire districts in the United States, ISO analyzes information and assigns a Public Protection Classification, a number from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents exemplary fire protection and a Class 10 indicates that the areas fire suppression program does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria. Winfield Foley ranks between a Class 7 to 9 within 5 road miles of a responding station depending on location. An ISO reduction from a Class 9 to a Class 7 results in lower hazard insurance premiums of about 25%.

Chief / Fire Marshal Bill Byram was appointed to the position of Code Enforcement Officer. Byram has been meeting with local construction companies, Home Builders Association, water district personnel and city halls educating them on the ordinances. Byram’s duties will be to educate and enforce ordinances, and to assist with all new construction developments and new and existing occupancies. Costs involved for inspection permits within the district is one of the lowest in surrounding counties. An example would be a permit cost for a new home constructed with 1000 square feet would cost the owner/builder exactly $91.74. This cost is being maintained at the lowest rate possible by keeping the inspection program in house instead of out sourcing which would increase the cost significantly.

More information is available by calling the district 636-566-8406 and leaving a message or in writing to the District at P.O. Box 118, Winfield, MO 63389. Emails can be sent to bbyram@wffpd.org. Links available for more information: www.iso.com, www.iccsafe.org., www.isomitigation.com and the Missouri’s State web page: www.moga.state.mo.us