The City of Effingham will become an ISO Class 2 effective February 1, 2018.
Effingham, Il – The Insurance Service Office (ISO) of Commercial Risk Services regularly performs surveys of all communities and fire protection districts.
The ISO rating is one of the primary elements used by the insurance industry to develop fire protection premium rates for homes and businesses.
The scale is based on a relative scale of 1 through 10 (1 represents exemplary public fire protection, 10 indicates the public fire protection doesn’t meet minimum standards).
The lower the ISO rating is for the City means the amount of fire insurance you pay may be less. Also, the ISO rating provides a reflection of standards that have been developed over many years from the study of pertinent fire protection conditions and performance standards.
The Effingham Fire Department is one of only 1,324 fire departments nation-wide to receive an ISO rating of 2.
Within the state of Illinois, only 80 of the over 2,057 communities/fire departments have a Class 2 rating.
ISO reviews over 46,000 communities/fire departments across the nation.
This is the second reduction in the City’s ISO rating since 2008 when it went to a Class 3.
It would be a very lengthy process to list each of the individual points the ISO team looks at, but below are some of the highlights.
The review of the Fire Department is 50% of the total grading and reflects the fire department’s response abilities because of the importance of the initial fire attack to minimize potential loss.
Items included in the review are:
- Standard Operating Procedures and use of Incident Management System
- Response of engine companies and ladder companies within specified distances and time frames – 1.5 miles for engines and 2.5 miles for truck companies
- Ability to maintain a pumping capacity of 3,500 gallons per minute (gpm)
- Annual testing of all pumping apparatus and ladder/aerial testing
- Number of personnel and related training requirements •Station locations and response capabilities •Adoption and enforcement of fire prevention codes
- Frequency of fire inspections
- Fire Investigation programs
- Plan reviews and coordination of fire department personnel training in pre-incident planning
Public Fire Safety education and programs The water system within the City accounts for 40% of the total grading and reflects the Water Department’s capabilities.
ISO views the City as having a hydrant available in 98% of our jurisdiction. Every building within the City has a need for fire protection and the specific amount is called the required fire flow.
It is calculated by the building size and the gallons per minute of water flowing from the closest hydrant.
The completion of several capital improvements throughout the City over the past several years has greatly improved the supply of water for fire protection.
Specific to the water system, ISO reviews:
- Total water storage on hand each day. Improvements to our water storage capabilities over the past several years further supports fire suppression efforts for larger fires
- Type and condition of all fire hydrants across the City
- The size of the water mains and the gpm capability at any given location within the City
- Maintenance of all valves and fire hydrants throughout the City
Finally, Telecommunications or Dispatch is reviewed and accounts for 10% of the total grading.
ISO reviews the dispatch center which must meet or exceed nationally accepted practices and procedures as they relate to the fire department.
Taken into consideration are:
- The number of phone lines serving the center
- The number of Telecommunicators on duty at any given time
- The number of circuits used to transmit alarms to the fire department.
The review places emphasis on the performance of handling and dispatching fire incidents to the fire department.
The City’s investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predictor of future fire losses.
Achieving a lower ISO rating is a difficult task that has taken several years to achieve.
Cooperation and commitment between all City departments is and will continue to be essential in order to maintain the Class 2 rating.
ISO’s information plays an important part in the decisions insurers make affecting the underwriting and pricing of property fire insurance.
In fact, most U.S. insurance companies — including the largest ones — use ISO information in one or more of the following ways:
- to identify opportunities for writing new business
- to manage the quality of community fire protection across their book of business
- to review loss experience in various rating territories
- to offer coverages and establish deductibles for individual homes and businesses
As our ISO rating changes, we encourage all property owners, both residential and commercial, to contact their insurance agent and ask for a comparison review on their individual fire insurance premium.
Insurance companies — not ISO — establish the premiums they charge to policyholders.
The methodology a company uses to calculate premiums for fire insurance may depend on the company’s fire loss experience, underwriting guidelines, and marketing strategy.
Assuming all other factors are equal, the price of your property fire insurance in the City of Effingham may lower.
Aside from the reduction in the insurance premium, the quest for the lower ISO rating has produced a well-rounded fire department.
Fire suppression, code enforcement, public education, training and the dedication of all the men and woman who serve on the fire department are all a benefit to the residents of the City of Effingham and to the future economic development opportunities.
If you have specific questions related to the lower ISO rating, please feel free to contact Chief Joe Holomy at 342-5334.