So much is in the headlines about Charleston and the tragic events that occurred to the Charleston Fire Department. I am not placing blame and am not trying to belittle the memory of the firefighters lost. However, I want to know how the Charleston FD. was able to secure an ISO class 1 rating and what ramifications ISO will have if this rating was not justified. Here the citizens of Charleston thought they were being protected by a class 1 fire dept. and I just cannot understand how that rating could have been obtained. Makes me wonder how many more departments in the country are prouding displaying ISO class 1 when really under the covers they are less prepared than we think! Will the rating be scrutunized by anyone? will they have to retest?
Things to consider:
1.Multiple high rise buildings and no LDH
2. Multiple high rise buildings and 16 engine companies and three ladder companies
3. No Mutual aid agreements
4. No unified dispatch
* I mean no disrespect Charleston FD i just had to ask!
Charleston you are the most beautiful city on the east coast! We love you! It broke our hearts to hear of your loss and we want to see you overcome this tragic disaster.
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05-26-2008, 09:39 AM #1
- Join Date
- Oct 2007
A Question about Charleston and ISO!
05-26-2008, 10:41 AM #2
ISO's PPC is all about what assets a community has available for fire protection and says nothing about its ability to use it.ullrichk
a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for
05-26-2008, 04:37 PM #3
- Join Date
- May 2001
- Greensboro, NC USA
There's a difference between Class 1, and First Class.
ullrichk hits the nail on the head.
To answer these questions, you would need to see the complete Fire Suppression Rating Schedule results of Charleston's last PPC rating.
Take a look here for the Relative Value of Pumper Equipment and Hose (Table 512.A). It says nothing about LDH hose does it? ISO's requirements for Apparatus are remarkably low. If you get a perfect score for Fire Engines, it constitutes only 10% of the overall score, Ladders just 5%.
All things considered, the Fire Dept only accounts for 50% of the points. Hydrants account for 40%, and Receiving and handling of fire alarms 10%.
There's a difference between Class 1 and First Class. I know, I work for a Class 1 Dept.
Last edited by txgp17; 05-26-2008 at 06:06 PM.The American people will never knowingly adopt Socialism. But under the name of 'liberalism' they will adopt every fragment of the Socialist program, until one day America will be a Socialist nation, without knowing how it happened. --Norman Mattoon Thomas, 6 time presidential candidate for the Socialist Party of America
05-26-2008, 11:29 PM #4
- Join Date
- May 1999
- Here, There, Everywhere
1.What do high-rise buildings have to do with LDH?
Note: NYC only carries LDH on 7 appratus (6 satellites and 1 JFK hosewagon) And they aren't even staffed by dedicated personell.
2. I know a few college towns with multiple highrises with as little as 3 Engines and a partially staffed Ladder. If the distances are within the requirements of ISO then 3 Ladders are sufficent for them.
3. Mutual aid is only a small fraction of the ISO grading schedule.
4. I don't recall any points being awarded for unified dispatch...not sure what you exactly mean by this. My ISO schedule is in storage so I don't have access to it currently.
Re-read the ISO rules and one can see it is very easy to bend the rules to achive a high rating...even a 1.
05-27-2008, 09:47 AM #5
Walk down the streets of your area. Ask the homeowners if they know what their ISO rating is.
My bet....most would not know.
Insurance companies know...and are the only ones that really care.
ISO ratings are a joke. It's a rating on how well you "document" stuff (cuz they don't verify the documentation). It's a rating on your water supply and/or water shuttle abilities (again, rarely verified). It's a rating on your dispatch center.
Remember, ISO considers a Thermal Imaging Camera a substitute item for an Oxy-Acetyline torch. ISO removes points (albeit few) if your company phone number is not listed in the white pages.
ISO ratings are a joke."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
05-27-2008, 01:44 PM #6
05-28-2008, 09:13 AM #7
- Join Date
- Oct 2007
you all slaughtered this question!
first, i am well versed on the scoring system of ISO and realize that the fire dept only is responsible for 50 % of the recieved points. however, if a dept cannot deliever the required waterflow for the average commerical occupancy in the area they serve then the higher the rating will be. right? RIGHT!!!! This not only tests the abilities of the hydrants but of the pumpers and aerials if we are talking multi story occupancy, hose, manpower, and other resources.
two, smaller diameter hydrant hose is adequate if hydrant lays don't extend beyond there limits. When flowing maximum capacity water out of your pumper would you rather have a smaller line and risk cavitation or go with the bigger line where theres room to grow? In Charleston did the 3 inch line work? or did the fire overwelm and overgrow the limits of the water output? would 5 inch line on the same hydrant made a different? i am talking about for water supply now not for the outcome of the fire.
third, i mention the mutual aid because if we have standing mutual aid agreements with outside agencies we can add the equipment they bring as assests. Even if we just use the outside agencies as RIT or in my case a ladder truck. i achieved needed ladder points by having mutual aid aggreements with an agency for a ladder truck cause my department could not afford one at the time. Mutual aid is worth the time and allows for cross boarder trainer.
Lastly, everyone seemed to agree that ISO was just useless. the public didn,t know what it meant or understood who they were etc. but we are the very ones that display the numbers proudly on the sides of our apparatus when we achieve the rank. We should work to change the way people think about ISO and the way ISO grades depts! it can work for the community to save the homeowners in your area lots of money on insurance and be used as a marketing tool for fire departments for fundraising or advertising. thats what we should be doing with it. however, we don't need to talk the talk unless we can walk the walk. don't cheat on the ISO tests because the only people that gets hurt is the firefighters and fire departments in the end. i am not saying Charleston was not a deserving ISO class 1 fire dept so please don't misread that.
Thanks for the replys!
Again, i mean no disrespect toward Charleston or the memory of the Charleston Firefighters. You are always in my thoughts!
05-28-2008, 11:21 AM #8a dept cannot deliever the required waterflow for the average commerical occupancy in the area they serve then the higher the rating will be.
Mutual aid agreements CAN help....if you are lacking in an area. If you already max out points with your own equipment, mutual aid adds 0.
We should work to change the way people think about ISO and the way ISO grades depts!
but we are the very ones that display the numbers proudly on the sides of our apparatus when we achieve the rank
it can work for the community to save the homeowners in your area lots of money on insurance
Better your Department with actual training and realistic equipment needs. Don't fall for the ISO baloney."This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?
06-09-2008, 12:03 PM #9
- Join Date
- Jun 2008
Chief makes all sorts of wonderful quotes.....
Chief Routley (Charleston fire department) stated:
"the ISO rating is an "antiquated system for looking at fire departments," based mainly on accessibility to water. He said the rating system's usefulness as a measure of a fire department's expertise and capabilities went out of style with disco"
You can see a bunch of horrible quotes from Routley at:
They should fire his sorry but.
06-10-2008, 06:19 PM #10
Routley was the leader of the investigative team, not the Charleston Chief. He exposed how ridiculous the claims are that ISO class means something. As far as that goes, I'm with him 100%.
06-10-2008, 08:04 PM #11
I believe it was said best that ISO is a joke, I couldn’t agree more. What has surprised me more is that departments have not used ISO to their advantage. Our department took our ISO rating form a class 5 in 1998 to a class 2 in 2003. We have hired almost 200 firefighters with the selling point of lowering our citizens’ insurance premiums. We passed a fire tax in 1998 after several public meetings and a media campaign telling our residents how if they agree to pay approximately $90 a year in taxes (for a home assesed at $150,000) their insurance premiums would reduce $135 (the commercial savings was even greater) thus giving them a net saving of $45, plus the added benefit of having the staff 24 hours a day if they ever needed it. The bottom line is most citizens could not care how many firefighters are on an engine or a truck till they need help. What a great selling point to use, “we can save you MONEY!!” Many departments in our area have been very successful with this plan. I would be the first to say I will not lose any sleep if ISO went by the wayside tomorrow, but its here, we just need to find more ways to use it to our advantage.
Last edited by jack61sgfd; 06-10-2008 at 08:16 PM.Shut the nozzle stupid, thats' smoke not fire!
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