When Greenville Twp. started their own fire department, a couple of people mentioned the problem of fire insurance rates and what this move would to to those fire insurance rates. The company that rates your fire department is the Insurance Services Office - ISO. It is a company and not a government entity. ISO basically is the watchdog of fire insurance. They have a grading schedule, actually two - one for city and one for rural. This grading schedule looks at all facets of the fire department in question and then assigns a grade to the area being served by that department. This evaluation tool is called the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule.
An excellent article on the problems now facing the nations fire service was written by Mike Waters and can be found in Insurance Journal on the ISO Website here. It points out how the economy has taken a toll on fire departments, equipment manufactures and anyone or anything associated with the fire service. Taking that all into consideration, one wants the biggest bang for their buck with fire protection
When your Fire Department is rated, there are 14 items in three categories which are considered. The first item is Fire Alarm and it considers three things in this category which amount to 10% of the final score. In Darke County, since there is a central dispatch center, most departments would have no problem in this category.
The second item is the department itself. There are 8 items in this category and it takes in such things as pumpers, reserve apparatus, personnel, whether they are in the station or not, training and the records associated with the training, distance from the station. This accounts for 50% of the rating.
The third item is water supply. It amounts to 40% of the rating.
So what this all means is that your fire insurance company looks at the Public Protection Classification (PPC) that ISO has assigned to your area, based on the evaluation that was conducted. Your insurance company then can determine how much to charge it's customer. More information can be obtained by going to the ISO website.
Next time we'll look at the individual parts of the grading schedule.
As for what happens next, that is entirely up to what the ISO appraiser has found in your department. As stated in the previous blog post, the regrading is based on this from the ISO website:
A community's PPC depends on:
· fire alarm and communication systems, including telephone systems, telephone lines, staffing, and dispatching systems
· the fire department, including equipment, staffing, training, and geographic distribution of fire companies
· the water-supply system, including the condition and maintenance of hydrants, and a careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires
What this all means is this. Fire alarm and communications is 10% and since we have county wide dispatch in Darke County, unless the recipient of the alarm has a problem this should not cause a problem in the grading.
The department is the next thing graded and the basic thing here is records. Records must indicate the date, time, and location of fires; the number of responding members; the number of training sessions; and maintenance of apparatus and equipment. Each community must also keep an up-to-date roster of fire department members. You may have the best equipment in the world, if the annual pump tests, annual hose tests, training records and staffing records per run aren't documented correctly, points start to come off. This is 50% of the total score and lack of records here means it didn't happen and bang, there go the points.
Next is the water supply or perhaps the lack of it. Many residents in the area have a classification of 8B. To keep that rating ISO says that the department must be able to do the following:
Specifically, to get a rating of Class 8B, a community must meet these requirements:
· It must meet the minimum requirements defined in Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) Section 106, "Minimum Facilities for Applying This Schedule."
· It must be eligible for at least 5 points in FSRS Section 400, "Receiving and Handling Fire Alarms."
· It must be eligible for at least 20 points in FSRS Section 500, "Fire Department."
· An average of at least six firefighters must respond on first-alarm responses to structure fires.
· For active firefighters, it must conduct a minimum of 24 hours per year of training in fighting structure fires.
· The water supply must be able to deliver an uninterrupted minimum fire flow of 200 gpm for 20 minutes.
· The minimum fire flow must be able to start within five minutes of the arrival of the first engine company.
· The primary responding fire department and all automatic-aid fire departments must be able to deliver the minimum fire flow.
· The departments must be able to deliver the minimum fire flow to at least 85% of the built-upon areas of the community within five road miles of a recognized fire station.
This pretty much sums up this part. Click on any of the links and follow the information. You can find what you want.