Frequently Asked Questions

The Insurance Services Office (ISO) reviews and analyzes fire departments across the country and assigns ratings from 1 (the best) to 10 (the worst). Insurance companies use these ISO ratings when calculating home insurance premiums. Generally the better the rating, the lower the premium; however, that can vary among the insurance companies. The ISO rating is based on three criteria: (1) communication systems to receive alarms and to dispatch equipment; (2) equipment, staffing, and training; (3) the community’s water supply for fighting fires.

As of May 1, 2016 Bergheim VFD has a split ISO rating of 4/10. Homes and property in the Department’s service area that are located within 5 road miles from the fire station in Bergheim or the satellite station located near the Cordillera Ranch east gate on FM 3351 are rated a 4; however, those located beyond the 5 road mile limit are rated a 10. 

Apparatus (tenders) for hauling water and static water storage tank depots are both definitive pluses for lowering the Department’s overall rating; the addition of at least two satellite stations placed strategically within the service area should also help lower the rating for those areas currently rated a 10.

 In the future when Bergheim VFD has met all of the rating criteria (this includes manpower, equipment, water supply on wheels & storage sites, and satellite stations), the department could realistically receive a lower ISO rating. It is impossible, however, to predict exactly how the ISO board will rate us.

The Department continues to actively seek sites for remote static water supply depots in the service area; each site will house water storage tanks so that trucks will not have to return to the station to refill tanks during a fire – remote sites were completed in 2012, 2013, and 2014 with plans to establish additional sites in each subsequent year through 2017.  

To provide water on wheels, Bergheim VFD took delivery of its first tender (Tender 33) during the third quarter of 2012, and in 2013 solicited bids for and ordered a second pumper/tender (Engine 31) in 2014 that was delivered in January 2015.

 Highlights of the 5-year growth plan include:

  • Continue to increase the number of volunteer firefighters each year, while maintaining 25% of them as certified EMT’s.  This will mean providing training to 5 firefighters/year and 2-3 new EMT’s/year.  Upgrades to firefighter protective gear and equipment will be ongoing.

  • Add up to three new vehicles as the Department grows and needs expand.  These include a heavy rescue/emergency response vehicle, a command vehicle and a ladder truck.
  • Install one remote static water supply within the service area.  New commercial buildings are expected to provide further sources of water away from the fire station.
  • Build a new satellite fire station within the service area as growth demands greater coverage.
  • Build a “Live Fire Training Facility” to provide firefighters live fire training in the area.