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Mantecas next goal: Working to reduce fire insurance rates
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A rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) - a New Jersey-based firm that collects data and analyzes statistics - has a big influence on how much you pay for fire insurance.

It compares fire protection in specific areas for insurance firms against established criteria of best fire suppression practices. It then rates protection on a scale of 1 to 10 with the lower the number the bigger the savings. The impacts of a better ISO rating are larger on commercial property compared to residential due to the size of the exposure.

To get the ISO to consider a new review and a lower rate, it takes hundreds upon hundreds of hours of compiling data and doing paperwork.

It is a task Manteca Fire Department is gearing up for under the leadership of Fire Chief Kirk Waters.

“Our goal is to get a 2 rating,” Waters said.

Manteca currently has a 3 rating with the ISO while most nearby cities and fire districts have a 4 rating or higher. Stockton has a 1 rating.

“A 3 rating is pretty darn good,” Waters said. “We believe, though that we can get a 3 rating.”

If Manteca can, it will be yet another selling point to employers that spend sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on fire insurance.

The ISO rating system takes into account fire alarms and dispatching (10 percent), engine companies (50 percent), and water supply (40 percent).

Some of the changes Manteca has made in the past few years that could improve their ISO rating include:

•The purchase and putting into servcie of a 100-foot aerial platform truck.

•Adding a fourth manned company - the aerial platform truck - that is housed at the Union Road station along with an engine company.

•Securing a dependable source of surface water instead of just relying on well water that can lead to serious pressure issue during blackouts or power outages.

•Building two new million gallon storage tanks - one on Lathrop Road and the other on West Yosemite Avenue near the wastewater treatment plant - to further pressurize the system.

 Manteca is also in the process of putting in place other improvements that ultimately will help maintain their rating or possibly push it closer to the magical 1 rating. Any improvement secured in the ratings - even just going to a 2 - reflects the fact that emergency services are getting to fires, quicker than in the past plus are arriving with the necessary equipment, training and resources such as reliable water pressure to do the job.

Fourth fire station going near Del Webb
The biggest would be the development of the city’s fourth fire station.
The proposed station on the north side of Lathrop Road west of Union Road is part of the 1,406-home Del Webb at Woodbridge neighborhood’s latest phase of 49 homes.

The design for the station incorporates single-family home elements on the sides that will face future homes and commercial -style elements for the sides facing future retail development. Construction materials will employ cement plaster and stone veneer for the exterior walls of the 7,173-square-foot structure. The elevations will also include aluminum windows and a tile roof.

The city has applied for a Federal Emergency Administration (FEMA) grant to help build the station. They also collect growth fees on new construction specifically for fire stations.

The site will include a 140-foot radio communications tower on the eastern side of the station near future retail.

A 7-foot masonry fence will be located along the northern and southern sides of the property while a seven-foot decorative metal fence will go along the east side. That is so firefighters exiting the station can see pedestrians on a walking trail that will run along the east side of the site.

The station will accommodate one engine company and four firefighters.

It is on the corner of the future third - and southern - entrance to Del Webb at Woodbridge known as Madison Grove Drive. The fire engine will exit onto Lathrop Road. The fire engine will enter the station from the back via Knotty Pine Court.

Why five minute response time is critical
There are currently an estimated 2,500 homes in northwest Manteca outside the five-minute response time. Once Del Webb’s project and Union Ranch East are completed, there would be 4,000 homes – or almost one out of every six residnetial units in Manteca – outside the targeted response range.

The Lathrop Road fire station assures Manteca will be putting resources where they are needed.

When built, the Lathrop Road station will bring thousands of homes in northwest Manteca under the targeted five-minute response time umbrella for emergency fire and medical services plus provide coverage for the Center Point business park going in east of the Union Pacific intermodal yard.

The five minute response time is a mantra for those who make a living putting out fires and responding to heart attacks.

Having firefighters and equipment on the scene of a fire or medical emergency within five minutes is essential for two reasons:

•The chance of surviving a heart attack or major trauma starts dropping off rapidly after five minutes.

•”Flash over” when fires literally erupt occur within five minutes of the first visible flame.

It sounds like a lot of time, but it really isn’t. The first two and a half minutes are consumed by a call being placed, equipment dispatching and the engine actually rolling out of a fire station.

That leaves 180 seconds for firefighters to reach a structure fire or a major medical emergency.