EASLEY — The new ISO classification rating for the Easley Fire Department has dropped to a Class 3 and Fire Chief Butch Womack says the department is on track to be lowered to a Class 2 by this time next year.
ISO, or Insurance Services Office, is an independent company that collects data on the fire fighting capabilities of a community and then evaluates the results using a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS).
The ISO then assigns the community and Fire Department a Public Protection Classification (PPC) number between 1-10. The lower the number, the better. Previously, the Easley community was rated a Class 4.
“We’ve been working on this for the past three to four years,” said Womack, “and we’re pleased. But we scored so close to a two. We were less than four points away. We are working aggressively to achieve that number two rating.”
According to the ISO report, the new rating puts Easley in the top 4 percent nationally. Thirty-six percent of the country is rated through classes 5-6, and more than 25 percent of the country has a PPC classification of nine or higher.
The data collected to determine the department’s rating is derived from a variety of sources including emergency communications and water supply. Fifty percent of the total classification data comes from a complete review of the fire department itself. Staffing, training, equipment, and distribution of fire stations all play a factor in the resulting ISO number.
“The areas affected are not just limited to inside the city limits,” Womack said. “If your house or business is within five miles of a fire station or within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant, you are classified under the new number. Basically, if you have city water, you’re close enough.”
Because a community’s investment in fire mitigation is a reliable predictor of future fire losses, communities with lower ISO ratings can enjoy substantially lower insurance premiums for their home and businesses than areas with a higher ISO.
The Easley Fire Department is holding its annual open house at Fire Station No. 2, 180 Glenwood Road, on Oct. 9. The open house falls in the middle of the department’s Fire Prevention Week elementary school program. The event features educational booths and special visits from Sparky the Fire Dog and Freddie the Fire Cat.