MIDWEST CITY — Firefighters and city officials gathered this week to celebrate the Midwest City's Fire Department's rating for outstanding public protection.
For the second time, the city was awarded a Class 1 public protection classification from the Insurance Services Office, a national third-party agency.
The ISO evaluates cities across the nation for their fire departments, water departments and communications systems or emergency response departments.
Scores range from a 1, being the highest, to 10, the lowest given. Midwest City's fire department is one of 57 that achieved an ISO Class 1 rating out of 48,000 departments rated nationwide. It is the only fire department in the state with the rating.
The department first received the rating in 2005.
“This is one of our city's brightest features,” said Bonnie Cheatwood, Chamber of Commerce executive director. “This ranking brings businesses and residents here and makes us all feel safer too.”
Cheatwood said the Class I rating lowers insurance rates for businesses and residents, thus spurring economic growth.
The grading for the city's water system is based on how accessible clean water is to residents, while the emergency response department and communications systems are graded on how quickly emergency crews respond to a 911 call.
Both systems function well and contributed to the Class 1 rating.
“We have hydrants throughout the city, so it is rare for our residents to not have access to the water supply,” Midwest City fire Maj. Jody Williams said. “And the average response time — from when dispatch receives a call to when emergency responders arrive at the scene of the incident — is on average between four to six minutes.”
The fire department is evaluated by equipment and manpower.
Midwest City's fire department has six stations throughout the city and 85 firefighters.
“Every firefighter wants to work for the best department, so this ranking allows us to draw in and keep the best candidates,” Williams said.