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DHSEM congratulates 10 local fire departments on improved ISO ratings

New ratings indicate stronger fire protection measures and likely savings for local homeowners

Santa Fe, NM – Earlier this month, Secretary Bianca Ortiz-Wertheim of the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) signed certificates recognizing that 10 New Mexico fire departments have improved their ratings from the Insurance Services Office (ISO), a private data-collecting firm.

ISO ratings measure a department’s ability to protect lives and property within their community, accounting for response times, equipment, water supply systems, and emergency communications systems, among other factors. Ratings range from 1 (best possible score) to 10, with just 7% of departments nationwide receiving an ISO rating of 3 or lower in 2020.

In turn, most insurance companies use these ratings to help set regional home insurance premiums, generally offering lower premiums in communities with better ISO ratings.

These 10 departments are:

Department

County

Old Rating

New Rating

Amistad Hayden

Union

9

7

Battalion 60

McKinley

5-9*

5

Battalion 70

McKinley

4-6*

5

Grenville

Union

9

8

Hatch

Doña Ana

8

5

Los Chavez

Valencia

6

5

Mesilla

Doña Ana

5

4

Mora

Mora

5

4

Sunland Park

Doña Ana

5

4

Tome-Adelino

Valencia

5

4

 

 

 

 

*McKinley County recently consolidated several local fire departments. These latest ISO reports mark the first time that Battalions 60 and 70 have been evaluated as consolidated departments.

Each department has made unique efforts to secure better ISO ratings. For instance, Hatch received a perfect score on ISO’s training criteria, which examines access to training for hazardous materials, driving, and other critical tasks. Similarly, Tome-Adelino received some of the highest scores in the state for both emergency communications systems and water supply systems.

Many of these departments have also benefited from the Fire Protection Grant Fund, a pool of state funds that is used to help local departments purchase essential equipment and training.

  • In fiscal year 2019, Mesilla, Sunland Park, and Bluewater (now Battalion 60) received nearly $300,000 in Fire Protection Grants, funding fire station repairs, training activities, and the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • In fiscal year 2020, Hatch, Los Chavez, Mesilla, and Tome-Adelino received roughly $450,000 in Fire Protection Grants, funding the purchase of PPE and large-scale equipment.
  • In fiscal year 2022, the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFMO) expects to distribute more than $20 million through the Fire Protection Grant Fund. This figure represents a substantial increase from previous years (over 3x the grants dispersed in fiscal year 2021), largely thanks to the passage and signing of Senate Bill 256 earlier this year.

“These new ratings reflect years of hard work and careful planning on behalf of these local fire departments,” said Interim State Fire Marshal John Kondratick. “The SFMO is proud to support New Mexico’s firefighters however we can, and we plan to deliver an unprecedented amount of grant funds later this year. However, our support can never replace the will and dedication that these departments have shown. They have made their communities safer, and they should all be extremely proud.”

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DHSEM works to protect the people of New Mexico and the nation through a comprehensive and coordinated program of mitigating hazards, preparing for emergencies, preventing attacks, and recovering from disasters.