What is ISO?
The Insurance Services Office, or "ISO" provides ratings used by insurance carriers in order to evaluate the risk associated with property and casualty insurance. Through their Public Protection Classification (PPC) Program, each community in the United States is issued an ISO rating ranging from 10 to 1, with ISO class 1 being the best.
According to ISO,
A community's investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses. So insurance companies use PPC information to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance — generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection”. Many communities also use this rating as a benchmark to measure the effectiveness and investments made in their fire-protection services.
Many communities also use this rating as a benchmark to measure the effectiveness and investments made in their fire-protection services.
What is Measured and How?
The maximum obtainable value for ISO is 105.5 points, based on the following categories:
Fire Department (50 points)
A number of factors play into this general fire department score including location and coverage of fire stations, testing of fire apparatus including pumps and ladders, and inventory of equipment per the National Fire Protection Association. Additionally, fire department records are reviewed to determine type and extent of training provided to fire personnel, firefighter response to emergencies, and maintenance of apparatus and equipment.
Emergency Communications (10 points)
This category evaluates how well fire departments receive and dispatch emergencies. Areas of focus include the emergency reporting system, communications (911) center, and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) abilities.
Water Supply (40 points)
Water supply focuses on the ability of the community’s water supply to provide sufficient fire suppression beyond routine daily consumption. This category includes evaluation of fire hydrant inspections, frequency of flow testing, and locations of fire hydrants.
Community Risk Reduction (5.5 points)
This area is currently considered an “extra point” category, and evaluates programs that include fire prevention, fire safety education, and fire investigation.
What this Rating Means for Peters Township
Our decrease in ISO is an accomplishment to be celebrated by our community from both a financial and life safety perspective. This achievement reflects a number of evidence-based improvements made over the past four years by the Peters Township Fire Department in conjunction with township officials. These improvements have a direct impact on the public safety of all who live, work, and visit Peters Township. Additionally, this improvement has the potential to decrease insurance premiums of residents and businesses.
While we are excited about this improvement for our community, we also recognize areas in which there is room for improvement. In the coming years, our organization will place an emphasis in the following three areas:
Over the past 18-months, department and township officials have realized the need for a third fire station in the Venetia District in order to better disperse department resources and reduce response times to a heavily populated area. Once this station is constructed and staffed, it will have a significant effect on response times and resource allocations evaluated in the ISO process.
While our organization's training has shown steady improvements in all areas in recent years, we aim to continue this trend, diversify certifications and class-types, and improve the way in which training is documented.
The department plans to continue updating hydrant allocation in established neighborhoods to meet current standards. Additionally, we plan to strengthen our relationship with PA American Water in order to ensure hydrant maintenance and flow testing are completed annually.