To determine a community's Public Protection Classification (PPC®), ISO conducts a field survey. Expert ISO staff visit the community to observe and evaluate features of the fire protection systems. Using our manual called the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS), ISO objectively evaluates four major areas:
- Emergency communications systems
A review of the emergency communications systems accounts for 10 points of the total classification. The review focuses on the community's facilities and support for handling and dispatching alarms for structure fires.
- Fire department
A review of the fire department accounts for 50 points of the total classification. ISO focuses on a community's fire suppression capabilities. We measure suppression capabilities based on the fire department's first-alarm response and initial attack to minimize potential loss. Here, ISO reviews such items as engine companies, ladder or service companies, deployment of fire companies, equipment carried on apparatus, pumping capacity, reserve apparatus, company personnel, and training.
- Water supply
A review of the water supply system accounts for 40 points of the total classification. ISO evaluates the community's water supply system to determine the adequacy for fire suppression purposes. We also consider hydrant size, type, and installation, as well as the frequency and completeness of hydrant inspection and flow-testing programs.
- Community risk reduction
We review a community's risk reduction efforts and credit them in the Community Risk Reduction section, which allows for extra credit of up to 5.5 points for a potential total of 105.5. That takes into account fire prevention code adoption and enforcement, public fire safety education, and fire investigation.
After completing the field survey, ISO analyzes the data and calculates a PPC. The grading then undergoes a quality review. The community will receive a notification letter identifying the new PPC. ISO also provides a hydrant-flow summary sheet, along with a Public Protection Classification Summary Report. The summary explains each subcategory and indicates the total points the community earned. The report also indicates the performance needed to receive full credit for each specific section in the schedule, as well as the quantity actually provided.