The 10 categories used by the Insurance Services Office, Inc.
(ISO), to rank the fire protection in cities and towns according
to the following three factors.
- Fire department quality—this includes its equipment
(e.g., ladders, fire trucks), staffing (i.e., paid
or volunteer), training, and geographic distribution
of firefighting companies; this factor accounts
for 50 percent of the total classification.
- Water supply system—this includes the condition,
distribution, inspection, and maintenance of fire
hydrants and a comparison of the available water
to the amount needed to extinguish a fire; this
accounts for 40 percent of the total classification.
- Fire alarm and communications systems—this includes
telephone systems, telephone lines, staffing of
these systems, and the quality of the dispatching
system; this factor accounts for 10 percent of the
The Public Protection Classification program is a rating system
with a range from 1 (best) to 10 (worst) that numerically ranks
a community's municipal fire protection system. Class 1 represents
an excellent fire protection system, and class 10 indicates virtually
no protection. Actually, classes 9 and 10 are both "unprotected"
classes; that is, they indicate rural areas without adequate fire
hydrants or fire departments. Whether protection class 9 or 10 applies
is determined by the distance from an available fire hydrant and
a fire department that would respond.
Nearly all U.S. insurers use
ISO's public protection classification in calculating rates for
homes. Note, however, that many insurers deviate in some way from
the rules of the public protection classification program through
the use of independently filed rules.
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