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Consultant to help find ways to lower ISO ratings
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Effingham County commissioners have given the go-ahead for a fire consulting services agreement.

Commissioners approved a bid from National Fire Service Office, based in Sylvania, for a maximum of $32,800. Fire chiefs and administrations from the various governments have been meeting regularly, coming up with a scope of services for an ISO consultant.

“One recommendation that has been made from time to time is to hire a fire consultant to perform a pre-ISO audit and to make recommendations for long-range planning to maximize ISO reductions countywide,” said county community relations director Adam Kobek.

Under the terms of the contract, NFSO will conduct a pre-ISO audit, meaning it will give recommendations on where to place stations, what kind of apparatus is needed, certify water sources to fight fires and on training and employees.

National Fire Service Office was one of three firms to respond to the request for proposals. If the county opts to remove water source certification from the contract, the price could fall $12,000. Management Advisory Group International out of Woodbridge, Va., said they could trim their quote of $39,965 down to $32,000 if water source certification was removed, according to Kobek.

“The water source certification is something we will need for the future,” he said. “Putting an exact number on it is kind of difficult thing until we get the final recommendation.”

Fire chiefs and administrative personnel reviewed the proposals July 8. There were questions from that meeting that were addressed later, Kobek said. NFSO will have its recommendations ready within 90 days of starting its work.

“They have worked with multiple jurisdictions, with a proven track record of lowering ISOs,” Kobek said of NFSO.

There is $19,000 in the budget for fire consulting services, Kobek added, and a budget amendment may have to be presented later to account for the full scope of work.

Commissioners also tabled setting fire fees for the coming fiscal year. Fire fees last year were $80 for residences, $250 for commercial buildings and industrial buildings with 25 or fewer employees and $2,000 for industrial buildings with at least 26 employees.