By Laurie Bassett Edmonds
RAYMORE – The South Metro Fire District has received the Insurance Services Office (ISO) top rating of Class 1, effective July 1.
This rating has been attained by less than one quarter of 1 percent of fire departments nationwide. In other words, there are only 250 departments out of 50,000 at a Class 1 rating in the entire country. To further put this achievement into perspective, South Metro is one of only 11 in Missouri.
“South Metro has achieved the highest Public Protection Classification (PPC) for protecting our citizens,” said Fire Chief Lee Stevens. “This rating is due to the hard work and dedication of our firefighters and their commitment to saving lives and property. It’s a reflection of the Fire District’s commitment to provide the best possible service for our community.”
Fire departments across the nation are rated by the ISO to determine a PPC for individual cities or counties. This rating is published by ISO and used by insurance companies to determine insurance rates. The ranking system is on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the very best and 10 representing less than minimum recognized fire protection. Most U.S. insurers use this number in calculating premiums. In general, the price of fire insurance in a community with a good PPC is substantially lower than in a community with a poor PPC.
Key elements considered when evaluating a fire department include: average response time, adequate staffing of personnel, fire station distribution (locations within coverage area), appropriate apparatus and equipment, training of personnel, local water supply, the organizational structure of the department, emergency communications, and building/fire codes for that jurisdiction.
Stevens explained that homeowners will have to check with their insurance companies to see if the Class 1 rating will affect their rates. He said that it will likely make more of a difference for commercial properties.
“The citizens of South Metro Fire District are committed to our continued excellence, as well,” Stevens said. “They have played a part in us being able to achieve this.”