Along with the new construction and residential areas coming to the city of Aledo, the local fire department will receive some changes in appearance and organization as well.
At their meeting Thursday, the Aledo City Council heard an update of progress made as well as news of what is to come.
By the end of 2015, Aledo – which joined ESD 1 in May of 2013 – plans to have a third fire station constructed on the south side of the railroad tracks. But before then, the city faces a survey in December by the Insurance Services Office (ISO).
Fifty percent of that grade is based on the ability to provide protection, 40 percent on water supply capability and 10 percent on the city’s alarm and communications through the dispatch.
Each city is rated based on its ability to provide services to areas through hauling water or fire hydrants. Currently, on a scale of one to 10 with 10 being the worst grade, Aledo has an eight rating for areas where they haul water and a seven for areas serviced by fire hydrants.
But because of recent changes from joining the ESD, improvements to the city’s water services and other city improvements, Steve Watson, acting fire chief of ESD 1, says the new survey will likely give them ratings between three and five.
Once rated, the city will hold that rating for the next 15 years. A good rating will likely bring savings of 29 percent for commercial businesses and 18 percent for residential areas on insurance premiums.
“It should be a pretty good deal for everybody,” Watson said of the prospect of a good rating.
While an assessment was made of the city’s ability to provide protection to its district, they also did a location study of the stations and their efficiency and also determined where a third station might be best located.
When Aledo joined ESD 1, the ESD hired two full-time firefighters to work alongside the volunteers. But by the winter of 2014-15, Watson says they plan to begin using a 24-hour staffing model, having a minimum of two firefighters at each station at all times with three manning the station for 40 hours a week.
Property for the new station was purchased July 18, south of the tracks and on the west side of the city.
“I think it’s a good move,” Mayor Kit Marshall said of building a station away from potential hazards such as the railroad.
Already the ESD has created sketches of what the new station may look like.
“We would want it to be an aesthetic contribution to the community,” Watson said.
In the future, the current stations may be relocated so they are more conveniently positioned in order to provide services to the city of Aledo.