From News-Bulletin reports
In 2021, 10 fire departments in New Mexico, two of which are in Valencia County, received recognition from the Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for improvement to their ISO ratings.
The Los Chavez Fire Department went from a 6 to a 5 and the Tomé-Adelino Fire Department improved from a 5 to a 4.
Insurance Services Office 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 — the best possible score — to 10, with just 7 percent 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.
Tomé-Adelino received some of the highest scores in the state for both emergency communications systems and water supply systems.
Many departments statewide 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 2020, Los Chavez, and Tomé-Adelino and two other departments in New Mexico received roughly $450,000 in Fire Protection Grants, funding the purchase of personal protective equipment and large-scale equipment.
In fiscal year 2022, the New Mexico State Fire Marshal’s Office will distribute more than $20 million through the Fire Protection Grant Fund.
This figure represents a substantial increase from previous years — more than three times the grants dispersed in fiscal year 2021 — largely thanks to the passage and signing of Senate Bill 256 in 2021.
“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.”
Overall, fire departments throughout the county are scheduled to receive $854,000 in grants for the 2022 fiscal year, which ends in June 2023.
The projects and equipment that these grants will fund are:
- Los Chavez Fire Department, Class A pumper truck: $300,000
- Tomé-Adelino Fire Department, water system: $85,000
- Peralta Fire Department, brush truck: $250,000
- Belen Fire Department, self-contained breathing apparatus: $150,000
- Bosque Farms Fire Department, portable radios: $69,516
The Valencia County News-Bulletin is a locally owned and operated community newspaper, dedicated to serving Valencia County since 1910 through the highest journalistic and professional business standards. The VCNB is published weekly on Thursdays, including holidays both in print and online.