The Tecumseh Fire Department has received good news that the Insurance Service Office has given Tecumseh an improved rating that could reduce homeowner insurance costs for local residents.

The Tecumseh Fire Department has received good news that the Insurance Service Office has given Tecumseh an improved rating that could reduce homeowner insurance costs for local residents.

In March, TFD was evaluated by ISO, which evaluates fire departments and their resources.

The result of that evaluation — announced this week — is an ISO Class 2/2Y.

Fire departments all over the country are graded on a scale of 1 to 10, with one being the best.

“I was shocked,” Tecumseh Fire Chief Aaron Williams said about Tecumseh being rated a 2. They were trying to improve from the 4 earned in 2014 to a ISO 3 rating; getting a 2 is great for the department and city.

“There are 1,324 Class 2 in the country,” Williams said. “It's a major accomplishment and we are very proud and honored.”

“The challenge is to make sure we maintain that,” he added.

Williams said everyone worked hard to get that rating, from volunteers responding to training and calls to other factors. The city of Tecumseh employs five full-time firefighters and has a group of volunteer firefighters, which currently number 11, however they are in the interview process of adding several volunteers to the department.

Overall, the evaluation looked at three areas, including emergency communications and 911, the city's water supply as well as the overall department.

The new rating takes effect on Nov. 1, so Williams advises residents to check with their insurance agents after Nov. 1 to inquire about any potential premium savings for their homeowners' insurance. Every insurance company is different, he said.

The Tecumseh Fire Department has two engines, one 75-foot ladder truck, four brush pumpers, two rescue/medical squads, two chief's vehicles, one 3,000-gallon tanker and a UTV.

In addition to the full-time firefighters, the volunteer base is very critical and volunteers are often the first looked at when a full-time position opens.

Williams, who said they are always looking to add volunteers, said they are in the process of doing that now and will likely add two more; the department can have up to 25 volunteers.

Volunteers are great at saving the city money, he said, but it's also valuable experience for firefighters who want to serve. It also takes a special person who can respond to an overnight fire, work that scene and still wake up and go to a regular job.

“Volunteering is not the same as it used to be,” Williams said, adding so many of the volunteers today don't always work in town; sometimes they have jobs in Oklahoma City and that distance can be a factor.

That's why having more volunteers is always better, he said, because not all of them can make every call. It takes 12 firefighters to work a house fire, he said.

In addition, Tecumseh has automatic mutual aid agreements with both Bethel and Earlsboro Fire Departments as well.

And while volunteer firefighters get a clothing allowance payment for each run, they also get qualifying volunteer credits for a minimal firefighter's pension.

Requirements to be a Tecumseh volunteer firefighter included being age 18 to 44 and living within two miles of the city's two fire stations. There also is a considerable amount of training. Williams said they are looking for additional volunteers to apply.

Williams said the full-time firefighters work day shifts, but a goal of his is to one day add two more full-time firefighters and go to 24-hour shifts.