Last week’s news that the Wendell Fire Department fared well on its most recent ISO inspection shines a wonderful light on a group of people who work hard without a lot of recognition.
The ISO inspection is important to all of us because the rating that comes from the inspection has a direct impact on insurance rates for property owners. The better the rating, the lower the cost of insurance. And who doesn’t like to see an insurance rate come down?
For the fire department, though, the improved ISO ratings mean much more. They are a validation that the fire department is focused on improving services for the people they exist to protect. Fire departments have always been a close-knit group and they’ve always enjoyed the feeling of a job well done, particularly if a life is saved or if their actions help reduce the damage from a fire that is out of control.
In Wake County, the days of the good ol’ boys leaving the shop and the factory or rushing out of the tobacco field to answer the alarm has given way to more professional, better-trained fire services with people who work in the business of fire supression all day long. Wendell, though, is unique. It has a small paid staff and, despite the sinfully low pay they earn, the department has kept its staff in place. The least-tenured full-time firefighter on staff in Wendell, has been there three years. Look around your workplace and count the number of employees who have been there less than three years.
Still, Wendell relies on its volunteers, too. That hybrid kind of setup that mixes paid and volunteer firefighters has obviously worked well over the years and it continues to now.
The improved ISO rating is also a function of the department’s ability to work with other departments. The brotherhood of firefighters has never been something that stopped at the fire station door. Fire departments have long been willing to help each other out and the ability to do that well is reflected in this ISO report.
So, while we hope you never have need of your local fire department, it’s nice to know that it’s a mighty good group of folks who will come when they are called.