SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


North Tongass Residents Receive a Better ISO Rating


October 23, 2009

Ketchikan, Alaska - On a cloudy Saturday morning in April, the North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department (NTVFD) was evaluated by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) to see how North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department's firefighting capabilities matched up to their standards and other fire departments in the nation. The Insurance Services Office is headquartered in Jersey City, NJ.

By classifying communities' ability to suppress fires, the Insurance Services Office helps communities evaluate their public fire-protection services. The program provides an objective, countrywide standard that helps fire departments in planning and budgeting for facilities, equipment, and training. And by securing lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection, the Public Protection Classification (PPCTM) Program provides incentives and rewards for communities that choose to improve their firefighting services.

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The Public Protection Classification Service gauges the capacity of a local fire department to respond if flames engulf a home or commercial property. Insurance Services Office collects information on a community's public fire protection and analyzes the data using their Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). Then they assign a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't meet the Insurance Services Office's minimum criteria. This classification number is used by many insurance companies to base their insurance rates on.

Under Insurance Services Office ratings at the time, the North Tongass area was rated as a Class 9 for every structure within five driving miles of a fire station and a Class 10 beyond that. As the result of the extensive testing done by the ISO representative, NTVFD has been notified that as of January 1, 2010, the North Tongass area will now be rated at a Class 7/10. Currently 99% of all the structures in the North End are within five driving miles of one of two fire stations located in the north end. What does a two point change in the ISO rating mean?

Jack Davies of Davies-Barry Insurance put together some cost comparisons to show the effect a two point change in the ISO classification could have on insurance rates in the North End. Depending upon the carrier each person has, Davies indicated that residential insurers could likely see a 15% decrease in their premium upwards to 30% in some cases. Commercial insurers would most likely see a 15% decrease in their insurance costs. Davies did caution that rate payers will not see any savings until they renew their policies again. Insurance Services Office does not allow a person to renew early to take advantage of the new rate scale. If you have any questions, Davies suggests you call your insurance broker.

Fire Chief Dave Hull said, "North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department is proud to have accomplished this milestone in such a short period of time. The department started responding to fire and EMS calls on February 1, 2004, that is just over four and a half years ago. The department works hard to provide Fire protection and EMS ambulance response to the residents on the North Tongass."

Chief David Hull reminds everyone that the success of any volunteer department depends upon its volunteers and that NTVFD is always looking for good volunteers. "Please consider joining," said Hull.


On the Web:

Insurance Services Office Public Protection Classification (PPCTM) Program


Source of News:

North Tongass Volunteer Fire Department


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Ketchikan, Alaska