News Analysis

Independent Rating Puts Tobyhanna Township Volunteer Fire Company in Top 8% of State

SEP 20 2022, 8:40am

POCONO PINES (Tobyhanna Township) – Township supervisors claim they passed the fire ordinance because, among other things, they are concerned about the expertise of the volunteer first responders, as well as the financial soundness of the companies. There are national organizations that objectively look at both issues. Here’s how the Tobyhanna Township Volunteer Fire Company stacks up.

The company has been awarded an ISO Fire Protection Class rating of 4/4y.

The ISO ratings, ranging from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best, are established for fire companies nationwide by an independent company that examines four criteria: 50% of the score is based on the quality of the fire company’s training and personnel, 40% on the availability of water to fight fires, and 10% on the quality of the area’s 911 system.

All fire departments are judged by the same criteria – paid, volunteer, and hybrid all must meet the same standards.

According to the company that conducts the review and assigns the Fire Protection Class, only 8% of Pennsylvania’s fire companies are rated higher than the TTVFC. Nationwide, the TTVFC’s rating places it in the 76th percentile – meaning they rate higher than over three-quarters of the fire departments in the entire country.

On the financial side, we checked with the independent non-profit organization Charity Navigator.

They review all US IRS-registered non-profit organizations and rate their financial and accountability reliability. The TTVFC was ranked at the top of the Charity Navigator scale, earning 90 out of 100 possible points.

For contrast, the Coolbaugh Township volunteer company scored an 84, while Tunkhannock’s volunteer force earned 95 points. The Pocono Summit squad is not rated.

Another significant point, according to fire company officials, is that almost none of the fire tax monies are paid directly to the fire company. Instead, the TTVFC submits documentation and invoices to the township for review and approval by the supervisors. On approval, the township issues a check directly to the vendor without passing the funds through fire company accounts.

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