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Tennessee County Municipal Advisory Service

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Accreditation and ISO Rating

Reference Number: MTAS-360
Tennessee Code Annotated
Reviewed Date: November 08, 2016

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Inevitably, the question will arise about whether accreditation will help lower the community ISO rating. Data collected by Dennis Gage of ISO seems to indicate that it will. CFAI provides the following information:

The Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) is the agency that collects data and analyzes the capability of community fire suppression services. This evaluation is based on criteria such as fire alarms (how well the department receives alarms and dispatches its resources), the number of engine companies (their distribution, etc.), and water supply (whether the community has a sufficient water supply, etc.). Essentially, ISO is classifying a community’s ability to fight fire.

The CFAI, on the other hand, provides a comprehensive system of fire and emergency service evaluation that can help local governments determine their risks and fire safety needs, evaluate the performance of the organizations involved, and provide a method for continuous improvement.

This presents a correlation between the ISO community assessment and the CAFI self-assessment. In fact, ISO conducted research to determine if the self-assessment helped improve the ISO rating. According to a report released by Dennis Gage of ISO in May 2006, there were 1,114 accredited agencies although ISO has established a classification on only 92 of these agencies. The remaining are military installations or are found in a state where there is an independent rating bureau. Of the 92 accredited agencies with an ISO classification, the following is a breakdown by classification:

Classification
Number in Class
Percent of Total
1
8
9
2
24
26
3
40
43
5
14
15
5
6
7
Split
27
29

Since becoming accredited, ISO re-rated 27 of these departments resulting in the improved classification as follows:

  • No regressions
  • 19 improvements (70 percent)
  • Eight retained their classification (30 percent)

It should be noted that most of the eight departments that retained their classifications were already class one fire departments (the best possible classification). The following chart shows the relationship of this data to the national ISO grading statistics of more than 44,000 classifications that could be compared with the chart above.

Classification
Percent
Class 1
0.10
Class 2
0.91
Class 3
3.45
Class 4
8.61
Class 5
15.65
Class 6
18.56
Class 7
13.87
Class 8
5.90
Class 9
29.50
Class 10
2.75

Note that if you want to improve your ISO classification to a class five or better, accreditation is a good opportunity to do so.  Conversations with ISO representatives indicate that it is possible that future versions of the ISO Fire Suppression Rating Schedule will provide some level of credit for accreditation.

Responsible: