Theodore Dawes


Chief’s Tailboard Talk for February 2023

Hello Theodore Dawes Communities,

Wow, I blinked, and the month of January has disappeared. It seems like we just finished up with the Christmas Holidays and New Year’s and now we are headed full throttle into the Mardi Gras season. Please be safe as you venture out to participate in those Mardi Gras

Your Theodore Dawes Fire Rescue Department has not slowed down either. Going into this new year we have initiated some new policies in an effort to improve our ISO (Insurance Service Office) scoring. Which in turn can reduce your homeowner’s insurance cost. Effective
January 1st crews have begun Business and Hydrant Inspections and the goal is to visit every business and touch every hydrant, checking operation and pressure, at least once a year. These two programs will be done annually so you might see our personnel out in the streets doing more on a daily basis than just running calls. Many of you may wonder just what ISO is, long story short, it is a national program that grades a community’s fire prevention and fire suppression efforts. Our departments’ most recent score was a 5, on a 1 to 10 scale. This score was received in March of ’22, just prior to my arrival. The scoring process has many sub-parts breaking down our departments’ training, training facilities, equipment, apparatus, response, responding personnel, fire prevention efforts, and community out reach programs. Other factors include our emergency communications (911), and water supply. Water supply counts 40% of the community’s total score and the only thing our department can affect with water supply is inspecting hydrants. I should also note that ISO only concerns itself with structure fire response capabilities, of the 5000 plus calls we responded to last year, close to 4000 of those had nothing
to do with fire response and have no bearing on our ISO assessment.

When I was interviewed and hired by the District Board, one of the topics was improving the Theodore Dawes Fire District ISO score. We reviewed the breakdown of the last score and have established policies along with setting some goals to achieve and improve our score. Once
we have had the opportunity to reach some of the goals and the new policies have become engrained into our culture, we will do a self-assessment based on the ISO rating scale guidelines. Typically, an official ISO evaluation is every 5 years and if the programs put in place reflect positively on our score and they should, we would invite ISO back for a reevaluation. We have to be cautious with prematurely requesting a reevaluation because it could cause a negative effect if we miss some small detail in the rating process. We are currently focusing on operational tasks that are cost neutral. There are other avenues we can one day approach, but funding will be our hurdle in some of those areas. Rest assured that improving our ISO score is high on our priority list as much as improving our response capabilities and service we provide to the community.

The TDFR is here for you, and we thank all our community for your continued support of
this Department and Fire District.

Franklin Byrd, Fire Chief