Class 1 ISO

What Is the Insurance Services Office (ISO)?

A company called the ISO (Insurance Services Office) creates ratings for fire departments and their surrounding communities. The ratings calculate how well-equipped fire departments are to put out fires in that community.

The ISO provides this score (also known as an ISO fire score, an ISO fire insurance rating, and a Public Protection Classification [PPC]) to homeowners’ insurance companies, who then use it to help set homeowners’ insurance rates. The more well-equipped your fire department is to put out a fire, the less likely your house is to burn down. That makes your home less risky and, therefore, less expensive to insure.

PPCs can range from 1 to 10, and in the ISO rating scale, a lower number is better. A 1 is the best possible rating, while a 10 means the fire department did not meet the ISO's minimum requirements.

Using the credit points and various formulas, ISO calculates a total score on a scale of 0 to 105.5. According to the ISO's Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS), there are five main criteria to a fire rating score:

  • 50% comes from the quality of your local fire department, including staffing levels, training, and proximity of the firehouse.
  • 40% comes from the availability of water supply, including the prevalence of fire hydrants and how much water is available for putting out fires.
  • 10% comes from the quality of the area's emergency communication systems (911).
  • An extra 5.5% comes from community outreach, including fire prevention and safety courses.
  • Any area that is more than 5 driving miles from the nearest fire station is automatically rated a 10.

How ISO Fire Ratings Impact Your Community

By classifying communities' ability to suppress fires, ISO helps communities evaluate and improve their public fire protection services. The program also provides an objective, countrywide standard that helps fire departments plan and budget for facilities, equipment, and training.

In addition, this grading schedule plays an important role in the underwriting process at insurance companies. ISO documents state that most insurers — including the largest ones — use PPC information for underwriting and calculating premiums for residential, commercial, and industrial properties.

What Is South Montgomery County Fire Department’s Rating?

Department staff works within the guidelines of ISO to improve our PPC rating. In 2012, the department requested a regrading from ISO, and as a result of improvements noted, the department was given a Class 1 rating that became effective in March 2014. A straight class grading means every building —residential and commercial — in the district are now a Class 1.

We were the first Montgomery County-based fire department to achieve a Class 1. More than 50,000 fire departments are graded by ISO, and currently there are only 74 agencies in Texas and 411 in the United States that have earned a Class 1 rating. Our department continues to maintain the best overall coverage to ensure our public safety needs exceed expectations.

This rating means residents, business owners, and visitors to South Montgomery County can continue to count on first-class fire protection services because it demonstrates:

  • Quick response to community needs
  • Risk mitigation at the highest possible standard
  • A stellar commitment to preserve life, property, and environment

If you have not done so, download our ISO information letter, then share it with your insurance provider to ensure they are aware you are within a Class 1 District.