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What is ISO?

What is ISO?​ Why is it important? (From

To help establish appropriate fire insurance premiums for residential and commercial properties, insurance companies need reliable, up-to-date information about a community's fire-protection services. ISO provides that information through the Public Protection Classification (PPCTM) program.

What is the PPC program?
ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. In each of those communities, ISO analyzes the relevant data using our Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). We then assign a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents exemplary public protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't meet ISO's minimum criteria.

By classifying communities' ability to suppress fires, ISO helps the communities evaluate their public fire-protection services. The program provides an objective, countrywide standard that helps fire departments in planning and budgeting for facilities, equipment, and training. And by securing lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection, the PPC program provides incentives and rewards for communities that choose to improve their firefighting services.

What does this mean for me?

The ISO evaluation process is very complicated, and takes many variables into account when establishing a fire department's effects on a community's PPC rating. In very general terms, the more effective that ISO perceives a fire department is in fighting fires, the lower the PPC rating. Insurance companies use the PPC rating in order to establish the risk that they bear in insuring assets in particular area, and in turn, sets the premium rates based on the risk. In general, an area with a lower PPC rating will pay lower insurance premiums, if all other factors are equal.

What does this have to do with the fire department?

The ISO evaluates the local fire department based on several factors that play into a final PPC rating. These factors include, but are not limited to:


          -Age of fire equipment

          -Number of available firefighters

          -Training of firefighters

          -Fire department facilities

          -Fire department communications

          -Fire department equipment

          -Fire department recordkeeping systems

Because all of these factors that the ISO uses to rate the fire department are based on the availability of firefighters and equipment, the support of the community is extremely important to provide both services from the fire department, as well as the ability to reap the benefits of having a well-trained and well-equipped fire department through insurance savings.

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