Your Guide to Insurance Services Office (ISO) Ratings

Because fire is the largest single cause of property loss in the United States and fires injure approximately 20,000 Americans annually, evaluating the risk of fire is of keen interest to insurance companies.  Instead of blindly paying billions of dollars in claims for fire damage, these companies use a rating system to charge policy holders fees relative to their fire risk.  Insurance companies believe that a community’s investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses and therefore encourage communities to mitigate that risk.  Since 1971, the ISO has maintained the risk database and issued these ratings through its Public Protection Classification (PPC) System.

ISO PPC Ratings are on a scale of 1 to 10.  Class 1 represents exemplary fire protection; Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire-suppression program does not meet ISO‘s minimum criteria.  Criteria include:

  • Number of telephone lines available to receive emergency calls
  • Number of dispatchers available to answer incoming calls
  • Number of Engines (Pumpers) meeting minimum criteria
  • Number of Ladder Trucks meeting minimum criteria
  • Distribution of apparatus
  • Availability of firefighters
  • Training facilities and programs
  • Adequacy of water supply (municipal and private)
  • Hydrant distribution
  • Hydrant inspection program

The categories of communications, water supply and fire department provide 10, 40 and 50 percent of the overall evaluation respectively.  As a result, PPC Ratings can change as fire departments, water districts and other entities improve infrastructure and services.

Evergreen Fire Rescue is no exception.  We use ISO Ratings to influence our level of service and our budgets that pay for those services.  Based on national standards, we’re striving to lower the ratings in the district and at the minimum we’ll maintain the current ratings.  All of our volunteer firefighters live in the fire district as do many of our employees, so we’re interested in low PPC Ratings for personal reasons in addition to helping our neighbors save money.

Our fire district has multiple classifications.  Effective as of January 1, 2011: Any property within five road miles of Station 1 (4751 Highway 73), Station 2 (1802 Bergen Parkway), Station 3 (6940 Highway 73), Station 5 (53 Echo Lake Dr.), Station 6 (26370 Hwy 74), Station 7 (157 County 65), or Station 8 (33377 Forest Estates Rd) are rated as a Class 6.  Property within 5 miles of Station 1, 2, 6, or 7 AND within 1000 feet of a fire hydrant has an ISO rating of 5.  Brook Forest and Marshdale Elementary school fire hydrants are not recognized by ISO.  Any property beyond 5 road miles from any of our Fire Stations is a 10. We earned a Class 5 Rating because we have top notch equipment at the hands of highly trained volunteer firefighters.