Thread: ISO PPC Survey

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    Default ISO PPC Survey

    We just received our survey results back from ISO, and I'm disappointed to say the least. We not only stayed at our same rating, but our score actually declined since 2000.

    Not sure how that's even possible, considering we've pretty much replaced our entire fleet since then with NFPA-compliant apparatus, and made huge improvements in training documentation.

    Pretty frustrated at the moment. Anyone else had similar experiences?

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    ISO has their own prefrences when it comes to the equipment on your apparatus, they do not necessarily go by what NFPA wants on your apparatus.

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    Without seeing your packet it could be a number of things.

    As far as training, while your documentation may have improved, it's possible that your percentages could have actually dropped, especially if you saw an increase in membership, or the training was not in the "right" (at least in ISO's mind) areas.

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    We just received our survey results back from ISO
    Without knowing what you had and how you did this time, it will be hard to pin down the results.

    You mention you replaced the fleet. That is great but just because you did, does not mean that it had any impact.

    If your engines scored well before, say in the 70% for carried equipment, and you improve that to 95%, this will not change your rating very much, +2.5 points.

    If you added stations, and place an engine in them, this has a different impact that may affect the rating under distribution of companies. Not alot of points, but in the long run it makes a bigger impact than fraction of points.

    What did you do about water supply. If you scored low before, and did not make a significant improvement, this may be the issue.

    The wider the gap between the Fire Dept Score, which is 50% of your total, and the Water Supply Score, which is 40% of the total, causes an imbalance that ISO concentrates on. They call this Divergence. This most time hurts your total score.

    Example:

    If you scored 87% on the Fire Dept score and 63% on the Water Supply score, the Divergence factor will cost you about .5 points, which is 1/2 of a class. The point here is keep the Fire Dept and Water Supply scores as close to each other as possible.

    Sometimes, this cannot be done without a major capital expenditure to the water works (hydrants, lines, water towers), or defining new sources for alternative water supplies (ponds, creeks, streams, lakes) ----- and TANKERS.

    If you send me a e-mail, I'll will be glad to go over the CMC Report and your ISO Report with you. It will tell you the score breakdown for each catagory, with a detailed description of measures you should try to take. If you have the earlier report, we can compare them and see what changed. If you wish to contact me, you can reach me at:

    pknight0@yahoo.com

    Been there and done that (on both Sides).
    Last edited by PaladinKnight; 12-15-2009 at 08:57 PM.
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    I know how you feel man, I am fighting to get out of class 9. Kinda sucks
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

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    Ours went down also. Reason...the vehicle replacements were not keeping up with the building changes. Went from having a 2500gpm fire flow to a 3500. We were not increasing our pumping capacity to match the ISO calculations, we were increasing them to fit our water system and actual fire load.

    ISO is far from great.

    My favorite example of their sham.....a Thermal Imaging camera is equivalent equipment to a Cutting Torch.
    "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?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    My favorite example of their sham.....a Thermal Imaging camera is equivalent equipment to a Cutting Torch.
    Which is one of the reasons we got rid of our cutting torch... It's one of those things that you don't need very often, but when you do -- you really need it.

    I'm curious if the OP's department requested the ISO visit or if nine years was their normal rotation. We're at 13+ years and counting here without a visit from ISO.

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    ISO could be better, but they are working on it. These items are for the most part, included in their draft of the new rating schedule.

    http://www.isomitigation.com/fsrs/

    Couple of points I really like,

    Evaluation of pumper equipment and hose and ladder/service tools and equipment based on the current edition of NFPA 1901

    and

    Credit for credentialing of fire officers in accordance with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) recommendations and NFPA 1021, in addition to continuing education officer training
    Increased credit for training of fire apparatus drivers and operators in accordance with NFPA 1002 and NFPA 1451
    Preincident building familiarization and planning surveys reduced to annual frequency, with up-to-date notes and sketches available to the incident commander, in accordance with NFPA 162

    PLUS,

    Foam application system:
    Credit for high-energy compressed air foam systems (CAFS)
    Credit for low-energy Class A and Class B foam proportioning systems


    PLUS,

    Credit for adoption and enforcement of a model building code
    Credit for adoption and enforcement of a model fire-prevention code, including fire-prevention inspector certification and training
    Credit for public fire-safety education, including:
    Public fire-safety educator qualifications and training
    Residential fire-safety education
    Fire-safety education in schools
    Juvenile firesetter program
    Credit for fire cause and origin investigation, including fire investigator certification and training
    Credit for use of the National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushwhacker View Post
    I know how you feel man, I am fighting to get out of class 9. Kinda sucks
    What exactly is preventing you from at least getting an 8B?

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    Which is one of the reasons we got rid of our cutting torch... It's one of those things that you don't need very often, but when you do -- you really need it.

    I'm curious if the OP's department requested the ISO visit or if nine years was their normal rotation. We're at 13+ years and counting here without a visit from ISO.
    We also did the same with the cutting torch.

    We got marked down because we didn't carry emergency hose jackets on all the pumpers!! Go figure!

    We had them for years when I came on the job and as far as I know they were never used so the dept removed them from the rides.


    It's like the augers we carried on all truck companies, never used. Cellar pipes, very seldom used, hard to make a hole in a reinforced concrete floor. Life nets were removed because no one would certify them.


    We are still a Class 2 City and also a Class 2 Department.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by LVFD301 View Post
    What exactly is preventing you from at least getting an 8B?
    Several years of **** poor management, as in from there creation in 83. If you would like something to to read and make you quiver I have the Review in front of me.
    Courage, Being Scared to Death and Saddling Up anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    We got marked down because we didn't carry emergency hose jackets on all the pumpers!! Go figure!

    We had them for years when I came on the job and as far as I know they were never used so the dept removed them from the rides.
    I've heard of departments that keep an "ISO locker." In it is stuff that never gets used except when the ISO man comes to visit.

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    I've heard of departments that keep an "ISO locker." In it is stuff that never gets used except when the ISO man comes to visit.
    I know of a department that had one of their engines on jacks with all equipment unloaded when ISO arrived. The dept laid out everything on the sides of the truck indicating where it went.

    They were in the process of repairing damage that occured the night before, well that was the stated reason. An unforeseen circumstance.

    The ISO proctor asked them that 'when' he dropped by unannounced some time in the future, he would find the truck, loaded and in service. "Of course", was the answer.

    Well he did drop in a few weeks later and the engine was still on jacks and the equipment was no where to be found.

    The ISO procter finished his report and submitted it.

    Use your imagination.

    ISO Locker... I know you're right.
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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    I've heard of departments that keep an "ISO locker." In it is stuff that never gets used except when the ISO man comes to visit.
    That is very correct.
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    Without knowing what you had and how you did this time, it will be hard to pin down the results.

    You mention you replaced the fleet. That is great but just because you did, does not mean that it had any impact.

    If your engines scored well before, say in the 70% for carried equipment, and you improve that to 95%, this will not change your rating very much, +2.5 points.

    If you added stations, and place an engine in them, this has a different impact that may affect the rating under distribution of companies. Not alot of points, but in the long run it makes a bigger impact than fraction of points.

    What did you do about water supply. If you scored low before, and did not make a significant improvement, this may be the issue.

    The wider the gap between the Fire Dept Score, which is 50% of your total, and the Water Supply Score, which is 40% of the total, causes an imbalance that ISO concentrates on. They call this Divergence. This most time hurts your total score.

    Example:

    If you scored 87% on the Fire Dept score and 63% on the Water Supply score, the Divergence factor will cost you about .5 points, which is 1/2 of a class. The point here is keep the Fire Dept and Water Supply scores as close to each other as possible.

    Sometimes, this cannot be done without a major capital expenditure to the water works (hydrants, lines, water towers), or defining new sources for alternative water supplies (ponds, creeks, streams, lakes) ----- and TANKERS.

    If you send me a e-mail, I'll will be glad to go over the CMC Report and your ISO Report with you. It will tell you the score breakdown for each catagory, with a detailed description of measures you should try to take. If you have the earlier report, we can compare them and see what changed. If you wish to contact me, you can reach me at:

    pknight0@yahoo.com

    Been there and done that (on both Sides).
    So far we just got the cover sheets; no detail as of yet, and probably won't get any until after the first of the year.

    Score at the last survey (2000) was 49.76% (6/9). Score for this survey was 44% and change (6/9).

    Last night I broke down our score, and we took the biggest hits in areas that we don't control (dispatch--which is handled by the county, and water supply--which is the water works).

    The fire credits dropped about a point, and we actually improved on divergence about 1.5%. I was still surprised that we only went from 0.81 to 0.90 (out of 10) for training, when we have drastically improved our recordkeeping (everything is in Firehouse now), and have most of our members trained to not only FF1, but are meeting the new state training requirements as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Station 49 View Post
    So far we just got the cover sheets; no detail as of yet, and probably won't get any until after the first of the year.

    Score at the last survey (2000) was 49.76% (6/9). Score for this survey was 44% and change (6/9).

    Last night I broke down our score, and we took the biggest hits in areas that we don't control (dispatch--which is handled by the county, and water supply--which is the water works).

    The fire credits dropped about a point, and we actually improved on divergence about 1.5%. I was still surprised that we only went from 0.81 to 0.90 (out of 10) for training, when we have drastically improved our recordkeeping (everything is in Firehouse now), and have most of our members trained to not only FF1, but are meeting the new state training requirements as well.
    Training is subjective and ISO just looks at in-house (structure) Dept and Company level training in attendance percentages. This section is 40% of the FD score; 9 points. If you guys just scored .9 out of 10 there is something very wrong. Are you sure you didn't score 90% of 10? You also have the issue of props, training location (fire building), and other facilities. They also want to see your pre-Fire Inspections in this section. I have seen depts score 90% for training, and not have their pre-plans and score 3.3 out of 9 possible points. That gives you some kind of perspective on value of training vs inspections. If you scored .90 out of 9 then you guys didn't get much if any credit for training.

    If you dropped a point in the FD section, something else suffered alot, but the later score is about 1/2 of a class change in the wrong direction. With a 49.76 in 2000, you were very close to a Class 5. A better score in training would have almost got you there.

    Something doesn't add up, and I would be most interested in seeing the report when you get it. I really would like to see the initial scores from 2000 & 2009. With the number of changes, I would have expected about a 0.5 to 1.0 class improvement... Class 6 to 5 based on your numbers. Class 5/6 are probably the toughest to break out of; this is usually due to water supply issues. Water Supplies don't change as fast as the other factors, so you have to be creative and force change. If you took a hit in both Alarms and Water, you took a bigger hit in the FD score, despite the slight improvement in Training.

    The most likely reason that the divergences improved is because the FD score fell more in line or closer to the Water Supply score. I'm curious what the divergence was in 2000.

    I'm going out on a limb here. Based a bit on the numbers you give I have tried to compute some of the scores, backing into that divergence.

    Alarms ~ 6.41 of 10 = 64.10% - Class 4
    FDept ~ 23.40 of 50 = 46.80 % - Class 6
    Wsupp~ 15.70 of 40 = 39.25% - Class 7

    Divergence 1.5 <---difference in the relative credits for Fire Dept & Water Supply

    Total Score 44 of 100 = 44% - Class 6

    You can advise how close I got. There are many other factors that can get you to that divergence, but the Alarms score would be alot worse as well. It isn't too hard to have Alarms in the 64% area with minimal equipment and dispatchers. If Alarms changed alot, then your 911 or dispatchers screwed up and didn't work for you, they hardly ever get worse.

    Send me your data if you wish and I'll crunch the numbers in my software. Perhaps I can tell you what happened.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Given all the discussions about crew size, I found this quote regarding a possible change that was on the ISO mitigation web page linked earlier to be very interesting:

    "A requirement that, for a PPC of 8 or better, the fire department must have sufficient membership to assure response by at least six members (including the chief) to fires in structures (Recognized automatic aid may contribute up to two of the responding members.)"

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    "A requirement that, for a PPC of 8 or better, the fire department must have sufficient membership to assure response by at least six members (including the chief) to fires in structures (Recognized automatic aid may contribute up to two of the responding members.)"
    This is evidence of ISO's dedication to give departments a break in the rural areas. They recognized automatic aid as a vital tool.

    It is too bad that many fire depts don't embrace the same importance. This is usually a Pride thing. "It's our fire, we'll deal with it" When many depts, volunteer and career face cutbacks or manpower shortages, we have to adjust our thinking and change the way we do things. There isn't any shame in asking for help, but too many times it is considered to be seen as weakness.

    So perhaps this is ISO's attempt to do their part and promote formal automatic-aid agreements, which in turn makes the dept stronger on paper, and may lead to them being stronger in reality. Like I have stated in these pages before, ISO can be the best friend your dept has. They do alot to help you overcome problems. The really do want the departments to get credit when it is due. They give you an open-book test, it is up to the dept to take advantage of it.

    Having 4, 5 or 6 guys on a house fire scares the hell out of me. That isn't something that I have had to deal with in a long time, except for the first due that gets in and solves it before the 2nd arrives. When I think about the depts that are trying to break out of the 9, dealing with inferior water supplies, antiquated equipment and limited manpower, I am amazed sometimes that many depts can even survive. But they do and many of them are damn good.

    When I did some Mitigation Inspections some time back, I was truly impressed with some of the things that I came across. We all know about fighting fires in a conventional way, methodology, by the book, etc. It is these un-conventional methods that truly go back to our roots.

    The depts that can put up statistics that prove their value in terms of what they saved vs what would have been lost is not missed by ISO. That is what lead to the 8b Class, and Alternative Water Supplies (Tanker Shuttle). ISO has been remarkably in tune to listening and observing methods that are not found in the book, but have been found to be effective.

    Of course, some of this is waisted on the big metro depts since they are hard coded in their ways. Take the hydrant water supply away from those big guys, they are quickly neutralized unless they truly understand how to draft from static water supplies. Water supplies are not equal. The ability to overcome water logistics can make up for the lack of municipal supplies. The guys that make a science (and art) out of moving big water reap big rewards from ISO. If that wasn't true, there would be no rural or suburban departments with anything better than a Class 8; and there are numerous than fall in the 4, 5 and 6 classes.

    I expect to see more movement from ISO in some of these areas.

    Disclaimer: I am not currently affiliated with ISO in any capacity. My opinion of ISO is based upon my past relationships and experience. My opinion should not be considered an endorsement.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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