Charleston's ISO Rating Slips

City's ISO rating downgraded from 1 to 3.9

CHARLESTON, S.C. -- The ISO rating for the Charleston Fire Department has slipped to 3.9, Fire Chief Tom Carr told his firefighters Friday morning.

The city boasted about its ISO 1 rating by marking its fire command vehicles. Business cards bear the department's logo with a "Class 1" in the center.

Carr sent the following e-mail Friday morning: " I wanted to notify you prior to you hearing it from the media or some other source that we have received our final ISO report. Our new rating, as expected, has changed from a 1/9 to a 3/9. There were no specific surprises in the report and in fact you have already been working on improving issues identified in many areas. We will always have to work hard to assure that our department is prepared for any situation we may face and ISO along with a number of other benchmarks serve as guidance in that effort. Of course we will strive to improve our ISO rating as well as to achieve Accreditation as we continue to improve our department.

Our immediate logistical actions with the final report include removal of "Class 1" markings on apparatus, uniforms, stationary and business cards as well other specific locations. We have developed a plan which starts with apparatus marking which was started yesterday and continues in a systematic manner. We will move as quickly as possible and I would ask that you not remove any markings without specific direction.

I want to emphasis that I don't look at this as a negative reflection of you in our current state. As you read the report you will note little that has not been addressed or planned to be addressed. Please continue your focus and effort.

We may not be a Class 1 department but because of you we are a first class department.

Have happy holidays and in these tough times assure you take care of your family and loved ones."