Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) provides information to insurance companies about fire protection in communities. ISO collects information on a community's public fire protection and analyzes the data using the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). They then assign a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents the best public protection, and Class 10 indicates no recognized protection.
This information is used by the insurance companies in determining premiums for homeowners fire insurance.
The Fire Suppression Rating Schedule is the manual ISO uses in reviewing the fire-fighting capabilities of individual communities. The schedule measures the major elements of a community's fire-suppression system and develops a numerical grading called a Public Protection Classification (PPCTM). ISO's Public Protection Classifications (PPCs) gauge the capacity of the local fire department to respond if flames engulf a property. There are a number of areas that are checked and the cumulative score is what determines that particular fire company rating.
Ten percent of the overall grading is based on how well the fire department receives fire alarms and dispatches its fire-fighting resources. ISO field representatives evaluate the communications center, looking at the number of operators at the center; the telephone service, including the number of telephone lines coming into the center; and the listing of emergency numbers in the telephone book. ISO field representatives also look at the dispatch circuits and how the center notifies firefighters about the location of the emergency.
Fifty percent of the overall grading is based on the number of engine companies and the amount of water a community needs to fight a fire. ISO reviews the distribution of fire companies throughout the area and checks that the fire department tests its pumps regularly and inventories each engine company's nozzles, hoses, breathing apparatus, and other equipment. ISO also reviews the fire-company records to determine:
- type and extent of training provided to fire-company personnel
- number of people who participate in training
- firefighter response to emergencies
- maintenance and testing of the fire department's equipment
Forty percent of the grading is based on the community's water supply. This part of the survey focuses on whether the community has sufficient water supply for fire suppression beyond daily maximum consumption. ISO surveys all components of the water supply system, including pumps, storage, and filtration. To determine the rate of flow the water mains provide, ISO observes fire-flow tests at representative locations in the community. Finally, they evaluate the distribution of fire hydrants.
ISO Rating Schedule
Class 8 and below are determined by ISO; Class 9 and 10 are determined by the NC Department of Insurance.
- Class 10 (Unprotected)
- Class 9S (Satisfactory 9 rating)
- Class 8
- Class 7
- Class 6
- Class 5
- Class 4
- Class 3
- Class 2
- Class 1 (There is only one class 1 in North Carolina.)
Remember, the lower (1 being the lowest) the ISO rating the lower your insurance premium will be on homeowners fire insurance.
"Protection of Life and Property Through Prevention"