Posted on Jun 03, 2021

Mineral Wells Fire Chief Ryan Dunn was this week's featured speaker, talking to Mineral Wells Rotary Club members about the changes, upgrades and improvements the department has undertaken in the last several years designed to improve fire and EMS service and coverage and lower the city's ISO rating. He is pictured above with club President Tonya Gary.

As assistant chief, Ryan was very involved in daily fire and EMS operations and was key to finding and securing grants and funds to acquire and update vehicles, equipment and apparatus and expand the department's personnel to meet staffing needs and standards. He was recently promoted to chief following the retirement of previous chief Mike Pool.

The department had staffing shortfalls several years ago, lacking the proper number of shift personnel to properly man fire vehicles and ambulances, especially during high call volumes. The paid city fire/MS department relied heavily on the volunteer department to augment and provide support for structure fires or other major calls, but the number of volunteers available dwindled. On top of that, the county experienced trouble answering EMS calls and Mineral Wells EMS was often called on to send one of two ambulances to Strawn or PK Lake, leaving Mineral Wells at times with one ambulance in the city for several hours.

Dunn helped secure a three-year grant to increase paid personnel. That grant is in its third year, and it is possible the department will seek another similar grant to help continue staffing increases to bring the department to required shift personnel standards.

Chief Dunn was also key to acquiring replacement engines, trucks and equipment. This week, Mineral Wells took possession of a new ladder truck to replace its 20-year-old Quint 2 ladder engine. The new truck is larger and has greater reach and capacity. Because it was a demo model, it was also acquired at a price less than a new engine. The city reached agreement to sell Quint 2 to the Possum Kingdom East VFD.

All of these improvements and upgrades lead to an improved ISO rating for the city, which was the focus of Chief Dunn's presentation Wednesday. The city three years ago was able to lower its ISO rating from 5 to 3. A lower ISO rating results in reduced property insurance rates for commercial and residential property. Chief Dunn said each point lowered results in a savings of about $100 per $100,000 property value for commercial properties, and about $40 for residential.

A company called the ISO (Insurance Services Office) creates ratings for fire departments and their surrounding communities. The ratings calculate how well-equipped fire departments are to put out fires in that community. Chief Dunn said the city will soon have its ISO rating reviewed and his hopes are the city can achieve a lower rating thanks to improvements made since the last ISO rating review.

We thank Chief Dunn and all of the men and women of the Mineral Wells Fire/EMS Department who serve and protect Mineral Wells and the surrounding area 24/7/365.

Rotary Club of Mineral Wells meets every Wednesday at noon at Southside Church of Christ. Lunches are catered by Sadie's Eats. Meetings are for club members, prospective members and invited guests.