Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is now designated ISO Class 1. The national Insurance Services Office rates fire departments across the United States. Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is one of just 132 departments that meet the criteria for the Class 1 status.
Leaders remove a red cloth hiding part of a Sioux Falls Fire Rescue truck. Emblazoned on the white and red paint is shiny, reflective text: I.S.O. Class 1.
Rob Holso is the field representative with Insurance Services Office. He says the 100-point evaluation includes the fire department and community resources.
“When we determine the class, we look at communication as far as dispatch like what kind of operators do they have working, what kind of training do they do? We look at geography like, well, is this fire station actually responding to this house if it’s on fire or is it somebody else? We also look at the fire department. What kind of equipment do they have? What kind of training do they do? The water system – what can that support if a building catches on fire? We even look at what the fire department does as a community to try to reduce risk,” Holso says.
Holso says most ISO Class 1 fire departments are in large metro areas. He says Sioux Falls Fire Rescue is the only department with the classification in the upper Midwest.
Chief Jim Sideras says the designation proves the fire crew in Sioux Falls is one of the best in the country.
“Combined with ISO 1 and accreditation, there’s only 35 departments in the country that have done what we’ve done. That is a huge success, but it’s also related to the sacrifices and hard work really of the women and men behind Sioux Falls Fire Rescue. They’re the ones that really deserve a huge round of applause for their work,” Sideras says.
Sioux Falls Fire Rescue was ISO Class 3 since 1990. Department leaders learned they achieved Class 2 this fall, and Chief Jim Sideras asked ISO to reevaluate the team because the rating was close to Class 1. After review, ISO improved Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to ISO Class 1.
This year Sioux Falls Fire Rescue celebrates 135 years of keeping people safe and protecting property.