The Insurance Services Office (ISO) is the leading supplier of statistical, underwriting, and actuarial information for the property/casualty insurance industry. Through a survey known as the Public Protection Classification (PPC), the ISO rates the structural fire suppression delivery system that a city provides to the community. Most insurers use the PPC classification for underwriting and calculating premiums for residential, commercial and industrial properties.
The ISO’s PPC program evaluates communities according to a uniform set of criteria defined in the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). This criteria incorporates nationally recognized standards developed by the National Fire Protection Association and the American Water Works Association. Using the FSRS, ISO objectively reviews the fire suppression capabilities of a community and assigns a PPC- a number from 1 to 10. Class 1 represents exemplary fire protection and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire suppression program does not meet minimum recognition criteria.
The FSRS allocates credit by evaluating the following 3 major features:
Fire alarm and communication system: accounts for 10% of the total classification which center upon a community’s facilities and support for handling and dispatching alarms.
Fire department: accounts for 50% of the total classification which focuses upon items such as engine companies, ladder companies, distribution of fire stations and fire companies, equipment carried on the apparatus, pumping capacity, reserve apparatus, department manning and training.
Water supply system: accounts for 40% of the total classification highlighting the water supply a community uses for fire suppression including hydrant size, type and installation as well as the inspection frequency and condition of the hydrants.
When ISO develops a single classification for a community, all of the community’s properties receive that classification. In many communities, ISO develops a split classification. The first class applies to properties within 5 road miles of a fire station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant. The second class applies to properties beyond these limits. The ISO generally assigns Class 10 to properties beyond the defined distance.
During the latest ISO review, which was completed in November 2012, the City of Waxahachie received 8.25 out of a maximum of 10 credits for the fire alarm and communication system, 35.51 out of a maximum of 50 credits for the fire department and 38.73 out of a maximum of 40 credits for the water supply system. From these ratings, the City of Waxahachie received a PPC of 2/10 (Class 2 for all properties within 5 road miles of a fire station and within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant and Class 10 for all properties beyond these limits).
For comparison, only 0.7% of communities nationwide receive a Class 2 rating and only 3.1% receive a Class 10 rating.