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Thread: ISO Ratings

  1. #21
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    Originally posted by cozmosis






    Is dollar loss really a good measure of fire department effectivness? The electrical fire that begins in a home at 1830 while the family is eating dinner is discovered quickly, the FD is notified quickly & the fire is extinguished quickly. The result? Low dollar loss. Let the same fire begin at 0930 when the family is at work and shchool. The fire isn't noticed until it's blowing out the windows. The result is a large loss, but it's not the fault of the fire department.

    YES IT IS

    Not only does it measure the effectivness of the Department, it also measures any code enforcement that may be happening. Code Enforcement=Sprinklers and Alarm Systems=Lives and property saved=lower costs to Insurance Companies=lower premiums. It's not a hard thing to figure out.


  2. #22
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    But in many areas like ours, Code Enforcement is not the responsibility of the department. Sure ew can do voluntary inspections of commercial properties, but that's if the owner agrees to let us do it since we don't have the authority to enforce anything, meaning we don't have the authority to force them to let us in. We can only report violations after being called to an incident and discovering them during the process of mitigating that incident.

    Residential sprinklers are going to be tough to get past in these tougher economic times. $10K up front versus saving $200 per year on homeowner's insurance is a tough sell when people don't have either to spare. Same with monitored alarm systems, although they're relatively inexpensive so it's not hard to sell them to all but the few really straining to pay bills. And then there's the portion that just don't give a good dang because "it will never happen to me".

    Personally, we're going to perform our own audit based on everything available from ISO and other sources before we call them back for a review. Have to get all of the ducks in a row so there's no surprises. Got a 4 when the membership was half of what it is now, and we've added 2 '99 pumpers, an '03 heavy rescue, and an '03 CAFS pumper since then. Don't think a 1 is in the near future, but since the water department is way ahead of the curve we have hydrants in the middle of cow pastures. And they're live too.

  3. #23
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    ricky,
    That is certainly NOT the way to rate an FD, last year I had a fire in my own home........fire contained to the room of origin and it vented out a basement window, and caused some damage to the vynal siding. Result ? house being gutted and over a 197K dollar loss, for a FD that was on the scene in minutes and kept the fire to the room of origin............a room and contents fire caused enough smoke damage to get out WHOLE home gutted, ewven though the FD made what is called a "good stop" here. So why should the FD be penalized for that ?>
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  4. #24
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    I agree with coz, EFD, Weruj........... You cannot rate a fire department based on the fire loss. I don't care if you go get the elitest of the elite from around the globe and put them all together on one department with the best of equipment available, they are not going to be able to save a structure after it has been burning for an hour and nobody noticed until it was blowing from the windows. It's not going to happen. So now you have the best people with the best rquipment, and they are rated a 9 because out of the 100 structure fires they had, 65 of them were 60% involved upon their arrival.....

  5. #25
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    You want to rate your fire department? Walk down the street and ask every member of the public how they feel about your department. Talk with them, try to understand what they see about it, find out how much they know about it. That will give you a good indication.
    "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?

  6. #26
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    Our rating audit took place this past Tuesday. I was out with the Chief and the audit guys checking hydrant pressures and flow rates. We took some pretty bad hits on things we knew we always had problems with but couldn't change in time. We knew our shortcomings from previous audits and knew that while we would not rise to a 4 we will still maintain our Class 5.
    Our water supply is below standard for our area and our paging system at the 911 center sucks and has no backup. Our district covers 96 sq miles of which 70% is inside the city limits. We have about 110 hydrants scattered throughout the district. But water supply is a problem since most of those hydrants are only on 4 or 6 inch supply lines. We took a hit tuesday when the auditer checked a local chuch and found no hydrant within 1000 feet. The water line running past that church is only 2 inch so we didn't even bother having a hydrant installed. The Mayor and Fire Chief have gotten Baton Rouge Water Depart which supplys our water to run a 16 inch main to the north side of town and we are putting in larger lines in some areas. We also have a dozen hydrants being put in around the district. Plans are also being made to put in another water tower. The 911 center says that we should be switching from Low band to 155MHz paging and have new equiptment, including backups, installed before Christmas.
    While some see a Class 5 as being OK, for us it is no longer acceptable. Our District borders East Baton Rouge Parish. The City Of Baton Rouge FD has a Class 1 rating. The St George Fire Department which covers the unincorporated sections of the Parish south of the Baton Rouge City limits and on our northern border has a Class 2 rating and word is they will be trying for a Class 1 soon. There's lots of construction taking place in the southern part of EBR parish and as people who work in Baton Rouge look for places to live they are often coming to our district. The growth is spilling over into our area. But realitors and buyers are dismayed when they learn that just crossing the Parish line means the ISO rating will jump from a Class 1 or 2 in Baton Rouge to a Class 5 here. This is hurting property owners who want to sell old dairy or sugar cane fields to be subdivided for housing. Businesses are also reluctant to cross the line and build here due to the higher cost of insurance and the staff shortages at our combination department.
    Recently the citizens here approved a hike in property taxes to help fund City services such as building a new sewer and water system and putting in sidewalks and a new $5 million civic center.
    Hopefully by the next audit we will be in the position to lower our rating to Class 4 at least.
    Steve
    EMT/Security Officer

  7. #27
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    cellblock, chances are the church doesn't really count in your overall rating anyway, they'll probably have a separate rating. If I remember right, any building with over a certain flow rating gets rated separate, something like 3500 gpm. Our water supplies are maintained by the cities (4 of them) and the one with the best gpm didn't do any better in rating than the others because they did no maintenance and kept no records. The water dept. has to be involved, too, if they want the best possible rating.
    Getting back to the first post, call ISO and ask their advice. They're happy to tell you how you can get the best rating with what you've got to spend. I've found that they really do want to help.
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  8. #28
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    cellblock, chances are the church doesn't really count in your overall rating anyway, they'll probably have a separate rating. If I remember right, any building with over a certain flow rating gets rated separate, something like 3500 gpm

    The 3500gpm is accurate, but it would take a really big church to do it -- 17,000 square feet of unsprinklered, wood frame. Ordinary construction (brick & wood) would get you 35,000 square feet.


    . But realitors and buyers are dismayed when they learn that just crossing the Parish line means the ISO rating will jump from a Class 1 or 2 in Baton Rouge to a Class 5 here. This is hurting property owners who want to sell old dairy or sugar cane fields to be subdivided for housing. Businesses are also reluctant to cross the line and build here due to the higher cost of insurance and the staff shortages at our combination department.

    Homeowner's won't notice the difference -- Class 5 is as good as it gets.
    But business/commercial development certainly would see a rate change.
    I'm not sure about apartment complexes -- if those are rated like homeowners (Class 5 thru 1 = same rate) or like businesses (rates keep declining).
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  9. #29
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    Homeowner's won't notice the difference -- Class 5 is as good as it gets.
    I think there may be some regional differences in this. In my area, homeowners see a break down to Class 4. After that, only commercial properties get a break, though there are a few companies that continue homeowners' discounts down to Class 1 and some that don't consider ISO ratings at all.

    I have a problem with the loss history method because it's tallied by zip code. Threre are lots of properties in my zip that have no fire protection at all. Losses at such properties penalize those of us who do pay for fire protection.
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  10. #30
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    Originally posted by Dalmatian90
    [i]

    Homeowner's won't notice the difference -- Class 5 is as good as it gets.
    But business/commercial development certainly would see a rate change.
    I'm not sure about apartment complexes -- if those are rated like homeowners (Class 5 thru 1 = same rate) or like businesses (rates keep declining).
    Depends on the insurance company's schedules. About as many different progams as there are insurance companies. You neighborhood agent does not know diddly about what the impact of an ISO change. He plugs info on structure in out comes a rate. He can not change the ISO rating for the community (in order to give lower price/write a policy). Compare/quote identical structure in community A vs community B (differente ISO ratings) in your area (same state).

  11. #31
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    My agent changed the ISO rating for my homeowners policy in his quote system so I could see the impact of a lower score. I would hope that they all could do the same. They can't really depend on street addresses or zip codes to tell them because both can belong in different municipalities depending on which side of the street they are on. So they would have to be able to change the PPC rating.

    My agent could only plug in those ratings numbers that existed in Ft Bend County. There were no Class 1's, so he couldn't give me a quote for that. Most info says that there's no difference between Class 1 and Class 2 for homeowners anyway. There's a decent (15%) difference between 4 and 1, so whoever has a company that doesn't acknowledge the difference between them, time to change. There is a huge difference in the capabilities on paper. 31-40 points worth of difference.

  12. #32
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    Cellblock,I got some good news for ya buddy!You have a year from the time of your audit deficiencies receipt to correct those deficiencies BEFORE your class will change..We just had our audit and may suffer hits from Dispatch(out of our control:regional)and staffing (repairable/running lean at town governments wishes)We are currently a 4/9 but we're looking at doing the flow test this fall(now)to drop townwide to a 4.YOU WILL GET NUMBED if you don't show sufficient staffing(based on your last twenty structure related calls,(ADT,smoke in building,fire in building)We should be styling on water,thirty new hydrants since last audit but we got bigger buildings(increased fireload)so I think we probably will have some work to do.T.C.

  13. #33
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    I've heard the 12 month reprieve before. Also if you wait 6 months to invite them back they can only review that which you requested them for, they can't look at everything again. In other words, fix the hydrant/staffing problem, they can't come back and reinspect dispatch or equipment unless you request it. Lends itself to being shady though.

    So what you're saying is they look at staffing on ALL structure related calls? So we'd take a hit for only sending 1 engine on an alarm system call?

  14. #34
    Forum Member cellblock's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BC79er

    So what you're saying is they look at staffing on ALL structure related calls? So we'd take a hit for only sending 1 engine on an alarm system call?
    They look at all alarms for staffing. We have to send 2 pumpers and a service truck to every fire alarm or we get hit hard. Now that we have at least one person manning the main station we can gaurentee at least the first out pumper rolling. Volunteers will respond from home and pick up the other trucks. If the paid guy pulls up on scene and there's no smoke or flame showing he is suposed to get on the radio with dispatch and have them repage to cancel further response.
    1-This allows us to say that the other trucks would have rolled out had the call not been canceled. ISO will not fault us for having only one guy in one truck if it is canceled because it's a faulse alarm.
    2-It keeps the vollies from racing unnecessarily in their POV or in a truck to the scene. The sooner we cancel the less chance of an accident.
    Sometimes you find the vollies waiting at home to hear the paid guy confirm whether it's a working fire or not. If not then they saved a drive to the station and if so they jump and run to get a truck. Due to manpower shortages you may find you are not getting enough people on scene. If you get paged to a fire alarm and you get 3 trucks (pumper, pumper, service) with 3 FFs total on most calls you need to consider ways to pad those numbers. We have guys in our department who are older and physically not able to do interior attack but can help pull hose and fetch tools. We never see them at meetings or training and they don't have bunker gear but they have pagers and red dash lights and will come out "if there's something big". So they add to your numbers on the fire ground. What about all those deputies and cops standing around? They show up to every call to help with crowd and traffic control. And sometimes if the paid guy needs a hand they will help stretch the hose while he gets the pump going. Put those boys in blue (and Green) in your department roster. They don't need pagers and they already have a vehicle with nice blue and red lights and are always on scene when they are patroling. You have your required trucks, 2 pumpers and a service, on scene. You have a nice list of names of fire department members who responded to the fire. Some are standing next to their police cars while others are leaning up against the fire truck after pulling the attack lines. You have 3 FFs ready to attack the fire but one didn't bother to bring his gear when he stopped at the station to get a truck. So only 2 are bunkered up while the third guy can man the pumps, if he's been trained. Luckily it turns out to be just a minor stove fire and nothing is dammaged except the pot which you put in the sink. Everyone is happy and all ISO sees on the paperwork is the 3 trucks you were supposed to have and 10 FFs responded to the call.
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  15. #35
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    Damn. We roll one engine on a fire alarm. Since there's 3 stations, no real common sense to sending one from each. I see your point about dispatching and just listening from home. Sounds like a setup for a duty officer to run to the scene, while everyone else hangs out waiting. Problem is, if it is burning you've got a further delay in response (bad PR), and if you do roll everything, you look like a bunch of nuts making all sorts of noise (bad PR).

    How bad is the points hit? I saw the parts that mentioned that you needed to dispatch 2 engines and either a service or ladder company, but I didn't think it included automatic alarm system calls, just people reporting something burning.

  16. #36
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    Ideally an automatic fire alarm IS reporting something burning. Of course you and I know different.

    Nothing ISO has says that two engines and a ladder or service company have to respond emergency traffic to AFA's (or anything else, for that matter). So send one with L&S if that's your protocol, and let the others start non-emergency. They can always be told to step up their response if something is actually burning.
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  17. #37
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    ISO has totally revamped their web site. A lot of new useful info including Preinspection Forms. Not real easy to find all the stuff that is there, just keep clicking links.


    www.isomitigation.com
    Last edited by neiowa; 12-21-2004 at 01:09 AM.

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