City maintains ISO rating

June 7, 2012 01:35 PM
The city of Galesburg recently received the results of its 10-year Public Protection Classification fire rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and is proud to announce that the previous rating of Class 3 was maintained for the next 10-year cycle. Ratings are ranked between Class 1, superior and Class 10, not meeting minimum criteria.
Tom Simkins, Galesburg Fire Chief remarked, "We are extremely pleased to maintain our ISO rating of Class 3, especially in the difficult economic climate of the last ten years. This should translate to keeping insurance rates to a minimum for our citizens and businesses."
The total raw score in this latest rating was the highest ever achieved by the city. A major factor in the higher overall score was due to improvements made in the city water supply which represents 40 percent of the rating. Also, improvements were realized in the area of receiving and handling emergency calls which accounts for 10 percent of the rating. Simkins said, "It is a credit to the water department, police department dispatch, and the fire department, as well as the finance department, city administration, and City Council." The city had a Class 5 rating in the 1970s and early 1980s. Of approximately 2,500 communities in Illinois, only seven maintain a Class 1 rating while less than 200 are given a Class 3 rating or better.
There are three areas evaluated to determine a community’s class: 1) fire alarm and communication systems; 2) fire department staffing, equipment and facilities; and 3) water supply and condition of equipment and infrastructure. Simkins explained that to achieve a Class 2 or Class 1 rating would take significant improvements in the fire department by adding a fourth station, thereby requiring an additional fire engine and approximately 12 firefighters. Other improvements, and thus increased scores, would result from higher daily staffing at each station or an increase in built-in fire sprinkler systems in the community.
ISO is the leading source of information on fire risk for a variety of users, including the insurance, finance, real estate, human resources and health services industries and the ISO Public Protection Classification rating is the most widely used indicator for determining fire insurance premiums for home owners and businesses. Simkins remarked, "One thing to remember is that ISO gives no consideration to life safety in its ratings. It only reflects a community’s ability to protect and save property. As I have said many times, it’s better to save a life and lose a house than the other way around."


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