BLOOMFIELD, NJ -- The Bloomfield Fire Department has once again been awarded a top rating for fire preparedness and response capabilities by the Insurance Service Organization, recognizing the department's status as one of New Jersey's best fire protection units. The class 2 distinction is consistent with the BFD’s previous ratings from the assessment, which is carried out approximately every five years, and is seen as a testament to the department's effectiveness in protecting Bloomfield residents.

The ISO rates 46,042 municipalities across the country, with only 241 receiving a class 1 distinction, and 1,324 receiving a class 2 distinction, placing The Township of Bloomfield in the top 5% of all municipal fire departments in the entire country. Bloomfield has been assessed a class 2 rating for over a decade.

“I would like to commend the Bloomfield Fire Department for their tremendous work and, in particular, outgoing Chief Joe McCarthy for his dedication to public safety, and for holding everyone in the department to the highest standards of excellence,” said Mayor Michael Venezia. “The brave men and women of the BFD are extremely diligent in their preparation and understanding of latest fire safety trends, and their commitment to keeping residents safe. It is a great relief to me and my family that the fire department protecting us is one of the best in the state.”

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The ISO fire safety ratings are a comprehensive system that evaluates three primary areas of fire protection -- Fire Department, Communication and Water Supply -- as well as many subcategories. The ratings take into account each department's equipment, training, manpower, response times, dispatching and many other factors. The ISO looks at water connections, the efficiency of 911 responses, response capacity and testing records of ladders, hoses and other official vehicles. ISO ratings are seen as a primary means of evaluating the effectiveness of fire departments and are scaled from 1 to 10 with 1 being the highest and 10 being the lowest.

In addition to serving as a recognition of the department's effectiveness, ISO fire safety ratings also may have an effect on residential and commercial property insurance premiums with higher-rated communities often seeing lower premiums.

"Improving Bloomfield’s ISO fire safety rating has been among my highest goals since I became Deputy Fire Chief and I am very proud to see our hard work be recognized," said Deputy Fire Chief Lou Venezia. "This rating could not have been achieved without the support of the township of Bloomfield and the efforts of our entire staff, especially Deputy Chief Nelson, who revamped our training program which was instrumental in our high ISO rating. I want to thank and congratulate all the men and women of our department for making this possible."