The Insurance Services Office (ISO) is a national organization that provides ratings and other services to property and casualty insurance companies that they can in turn use to help them determine individual policy rates. The fire suppression capabilities of fire departments is determined through the Public Protection Classification (PPC™) program, which can be done anytime a change occurs that effects the rating.
After a survey is completed and the data analyzed, the ISO experts assign a grade or rating to each community from 1-10, with one being the highest level of full-time staffed fire protection and a 10 not meeting minimum rating requirements. Four areas are looked at to form ratings – the emergency communications systems (dispatch), the water supply systems (hydrants and alternative water supplies), community efforts to reduce fire risk (public fire safety education, fire code enforcement, fire investigation programs, etc.), and the fire department itself (apparatus and equipment, staffing, training, pre-fire planning, location, etc.). Ratings are based on a point system. Analysts have a checklist of minimum requirements that have been assigned varying amounts of points for each and departments are awarded points up to the maximum for how well they meet each requirement.
The data that is collected is for first alarm structure fires only within 5 miles of our fire station. These grades do not reflect medical calls, motor vehicle accidents, rescues, multiple alarm fires, or wildland fires or the apparatus, equipment, or training required to maintain those services for our community. They also do not include any call responses that take us beyond 5 miles of our station.
Despite ISO only evaluating our first alarm structure fires, we are constantly striving to improve across our three divisions in our training and on scene. This hard work paid off for our fire division and the community during our last ISO evaluation in 2014 when our rating was upgraded from a 5 to a 4, saving our community members money on their insurance – a benefit that we are also able to extend to our section within the Southwest Polk Rural Fire Protection District as long as we maintain our rating and remain in our contract with SW Polk, which has its own ISO rating of 6.