Your Next - MTAS

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Your Next I.S.O. RATING Simple Solutions By Larry Stevens
Web page:
Copyright 1980 thru 9 March, 2004
ISO is a registered trademark This book was written by the late Larry Stevens. It was Larry's desire to
provide this book to as many fire departments as possible with the
intention of offering it for free. We here at ISO Slayer are honoring
Larry's wishes by providing you with this book. Please feel free to
download and copy this book in your efforts to improve your community's
insurance rating. Regards, David Doudy
ISO Slayer
Forward 1
My Consulting Services 2
Success Stories 5
Choosing a Consultant 10
It's ISO Time! 12
It Doesn't Really Matter?...Doing It For the People 13
It Doesn't Work That Way Here! 14
From a Class 6 to a Class 1 16
What is State Farm Up To? 17
ISO Differences Between States 19
Legislative Support 21 FIRE FLOWS & BATCH REPORTS 22
Fire Flow Sheet 22 Receiving and Handling Alarms 23 WATER SUPPLY 25
Discharge Tables 28
Power of 54 chart 30
Supply Works Capacity 36
Hydrant Colors 38
Hydrants Types, Style and Inspection 40
Hydrants: Size, Type & Installation 40
Hydrant Spacing 42 FIRE DEPARTMENT 43
Equipment on Existing Apparatus 43
Equipment Substitutions 48
Automatic Aid 52
Response to Structure Fires 53
NFPA or ISO 55
Personnel 59
Got Pre-Fire Plans? 61
Training--the Easy Points 65
Divergence 66
Distribution 67
Pump Capacity 69 Fire Department Supply 71
Rural Water Supplies 71
How Much Water? 73
Credit By Demonstration 75
How Much Water on Wheels? 78
Sample ISO Invite Letter 81
Shuttles 83
Gallon per Minute Rate Per Tanker 86
Sample Tanker Shuttle Drill 88
Procedures 88
Long Hose Lays 90
Needed Data & Video 97
Relay GPM 100
Station Travel Time 100
Letters 102
Drafting 103
Who Decides? 107
Smart Ways Around the Rules 107 When Can You Invite ISO back? 108 A Tale of Two Ratings 110
The City Rating 110
The Rural Rating 113 When Your Rating Goes Up 116 Where Do You Start? 120 The ISO Guy is Due Here in 45 Days! 122 The Program 124 Sample Point Total Sheets 130
Commercial 156 Best Ratings 161
Public Protection Class 1's 161
Breakdown of Class 1-10 163
Top 21 ISO Classes Fire Department Supply Ratings 164 In Writing! 166 ISO's Phone Numbers and Email Addresses 168
I set about writing this book in 1979 when as the Assistant Coordinator of
Nevada State Fire Service Training and then later when the office was moved
to the Nevada state fire marshal office of fire service training. I was
confronted by endless questions from the state's firefighters and chiefs
about this new thing called the ISO Grading Schedule. That next year, the
grading schedule changed and I started collecting data. This book is
updated at least every three months. What is ISO? The Insurance Services
Office (ISO) is a for profit monopoly that is authorized by your state
legislature or Department of Insurance and is used in essentially the same
form in 50 states (Washington and Mississippi has their own state system
based upon the 1974 schedule and 3 other states have state run systems
using the same ISO rules as everyone else) to rate community fire defenses.
ISO then sells that data to the insurance industry for the purposes of
establishing insurance rates. Why do they want to collect this data?
Simple, over the last 10 years at least 122 billion dollars in insured fire
losses have occurred in the U.S. Over 35% of all claims paid on homeowner
policies are for fire losses versus just 6% for liability claims. ISO and
its predecessors have been rating communities since 1916. In 1889 the
National Board of Fire Underwriters (NBFO) started grading fire protection.
The NBFU was merged into ISO in 1971. The goal of rating communities is
to provide better insurance rate equity in recognizing public fire
suppression abilities. So who uses ISO ratings? According to ISO, virtually every insurance
carrier uses their data to calculate rates. The ISO audit is a totally
open book test. The only problem is they don't share the whole book and
the rules with the fire services. Thus the purpose for this free guide.
The ISO rating play a part setting commercial, contents, homeowner, crop
and rental insurance rates. ISO rates communities every 10 years if their
population is over 25,000 or 15 years if they are under 25,000. In
addition, they send out questionnaires every 30 months. Depending upon how
you fill out form you can trigger an audit. Changes in district
boundaries, station locations, automatic aid agreements, number and type of
apparatus and many others could also result in an early audit. Anytime a
community can prove to ISO they can improve their grade, ISO will come out
and re-rate the community. The ISO completes four evaluations and awards individual grades for the
1) A review of the communications and dispatch facilities.
2) A review of the water system and supplies.
3) A review of the fire department.
4) And a community wide grade combined of the three above.
The community wide grade has a 100 point score and is made up of
communications which counts for 10%, water supply which totals 40% and the
fire department is worth 50%. Every ten points is a Class. The grade is
presented in a Class 1 to 10 format with Class 1 being the best and Class 9
being the worst with a fire department. A Class 10 indicates no creditable
fire protection is available within 5 miles.
Points Needed for Each Class
% Credit Class % Credit Class
90.0 - 100 1 40.0 - 49.9 6
80.0 - 89.9 2 30.0 - 39.9 7
70.0 - 79.9 3 20.0 - 29.9 8
60.0 - 69.9 4 10.0 - 19.9 9
50.0 - 59.9 5 0.1 - 9.9 10 The grading audit simply measures compliance to a few national minimum
standards in the respective areas. Examples of questions asked are: Can a
caller find the fire department number in the phone book? Does the water
system match the needed fire flow requirements of the buildings in the
community? Is the fire department capable of addressing the possible fires
in the city? Are your ladders long enough to reach the buildings you
protect? A Class 1 community pays the lowest possible rates and scores 90% or better
on meeting the ISO portions of the national standards in communications,
fire department and water supply. A Class 5 pays medium rates and meets 50
to 60% of the national standards. A Class 9 is the worst grade given for
any form of recognized fire protection and only scores 10 to 20%. There is
at least 62% swing in rates controlled by the rating and as much as 340%. A poll of the Nation's fire chiefs indicates the importance of ISO ratings
and public fire protection. Sixty two percent say it effects budget
decisions. Seventy percent say it saves people money but more importantly
90% say it is important to saving lives and property. ISO collects data
from all fire loses in the U.S. What they have found is insurance
companies pay out less in claims in communities with better ISO ratings.
In fact, there is 340% difference top to bottom on commercial losses and a
297% difference on residential losses. Good fire protection is an
investment in saving lives and property. Loss per $1,000 valuation Source: ISO
Class Commercial Residential Class Commercial Residential
1 $0.25 $0.37 6 $0.45 $0.55
2 $0.30 $0.37 7 $0.55 $0.75
3 $0.35 $0.42 8 $0.60 $0.78
4 $0.37 $0.45 9 $0.68 $0.79
5 $0.38 $0.49 10 $0.85 $1.10 My Consulting Services
The most common question I get is, "how did you gather all this info on how
to improve a departments rating?" The answer is simple, with so much at
stake, cities, towns, taxing districts, fire boards, unions, associations,
counties, fire districts and get this, even insurance agents have hired me
as an expert to give them a better chance of scoring better on their next
rating. If you are a Class 9 or 10, the cost to fix what ails you will
always be 10 to 15 less than the yearly savings per homeowner will be.
Over the last 20 years I've helped 400 communities in 42 states preparing
for their ISO ratings lower their grades. Communities as large as Houston,
Texas (the 4th largest FD in the US population 2 million and the largest
city rated by ISO ) and as small as Kingston, Nevada (population 110) have
used me to be their agent. Most fire chiefs have never had to face an ISO
evaluation. Very few will ever do it twice. Can you imagine what the
consequences of a few key mistakes can make for the next 10 to 15 years?
Can you say millions of dollars? Consequently chief's, fire boards, city
and county manager's are looking for someone who has. Their first
requirement is a track record of success. I've been pretty lucky in that
category. Why hire a consultant? Because the ISO sends in a non-
firefighter bean counter into your fire department looking out for the
insurance industry. You are armed with their 50 page Rating Schedule. In
addition, ISO hides almost 1000 pages of rules you do not have access to,
but holds you accountable for all of them. I've been pretty lucky helping
with grades: *The biggest and smallest towns in the U.S. with Class 1's.
*Best ISO Grade in the U.S, 13 times.
*The highest paid department score e