HomeNewsArticle Display

Tinker department earns elite status for fire protection

Firefighter in smoky area

Capt. Steve Holekamp, Tinker Fire and Emergency Services, prepares to enter a smoke-filled room during a training exercise at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Oct. 6, 2021. Tinker is the first in the Air Force to achieve the International Organization for Standardization’s Class 1 distinction. ISO surveys structure fire suppression capabilities at more than 45,000 areas across the country and grades them on water supply, communications, training, operations and prevention. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Sticker with the number 1 on it

A fire vehicle belonging to Tinker Fire and Emergency Services bears a new International Organization for Standardization Class 1 emblem, Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Oct. 6, 2021. Given to fire departments that meet the highest standards on water supply, communications, training, operations and prevention; Tinker's recent certification is the first in the Air Force. Only five other fire departments in the state of Oklahoma possess the same certification. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Four firefighters with a fire truck and American flag

Members of Tinker Fire and Emergency Services load hose onto their fire engine after completing a training event at a disused hotel building on Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Oct. 6, 2021. Tinker Fire and Emergency Services recently received the International Organization for Standardization's Class 1 Certification, which is given to fire departments that meet the highest standards on water supply, communications, training, operations and prevention. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Firefighter holding a fire hose

Zach Barnes, a Tinker Fire and Emergency Services driver/operator, detaches two segments of hose after a training exercise at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma, Oct. 6, 2021. Tinker Fire and Emergency Services recently received the International Organization for Standardization's Class 1 Certification, which is given to fire departments that meet the highest standards on water supply, communications, training, operations and prevention. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

Two men holding a plaque

Tinker Fire and Emergency Services Chief Terry Ford, left, accepts a plaque from Ken Stoops, senior field representitive from ISO, commemorating the department’s distinction as a Class 1 organization during an Oct. 12 ceremony at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma. ISO surveys structure fire suppression capabilities at more than 45,000 areas across the country and grades them on water supply, communications, training, operations and prevention. Tinker is the first in the Air Force to achieve this distinction. (U.S. Air Force photo by April McDonald)

Man standing by fire hydrant

Chad Kerr, a utility plumber with Alutiq, flushes the fire hydrant near Bldg. 1002. Tinker Fire and Emergency Services recently earned Class 1 distinction for fire suppression from the International Organization for Standardization. Given to fire departments that meet the highest standards on water supply, communications, training, operations and prevention; Tinker's recent certification is the first in the Air Force. Only five other fire departments in the state of Oklahoma possess the same certification. (U.S. Air Force photo by Paul Shirk)

TINKER AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. --

When it comes to fire protection, Tinker Fire and Emergency Services is in a class all by itself.

The department recently became the first in the Air Force to achieve the International Organization for Standardization’s Class 1 distinction. In fact, there is only one other Class 1 organization in the Department of Defense and five in the state of Oklahoma.

“Being a Class 1 department is pretty prestigious,” said Chief Terry Ford during an Oct. 12 ceremony at Fire Station 4. “It puts us in elite status as far as fire protection across the nation.”

Skip Gibson, southwest regional manager of Community Hazard Mitigation at ISO, said the organization surveys structure fire suppression capabilities at more than 45,000 areas across the country. Departments are graded on water supply, communications, training, operations and prevention. Data is analyzed using the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule.

“We survey what the fire protection system is from when someone dials 911 to who responds and how they’re trained,” Gibson said. “The schedule itself is based on 105.5 points, but there are 1,200 data points within the schedule.”

Tinker scored a total of 92.13 points, including a perfect 10 for emergency communications. The department also scored a 9 out of 9 for training.

“Training is such a critical factor,” Gibson said. “I have to stress, 9 points out of 9 in training. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. That’s a really high bar. Kudos to all of you folks on doing an outstanding job in training. That’s amazing.”

Ken Stoops, senior field representative from ISO, presented the department with a plaque to commemorate their Class 1 status.

“Chief Ford, this is for everybody’s hard work,” he said. “This is a team effort from management to the firefighters. It’s something to be proud of. Keep up the good work.”

Ford agreed.

“This looks at all aspects of our department, from when the tones drop until water comes out of the hydrant,” he said. “You should all be very proud.”