Mayor Joshua J. Cohen and Annapolis Fire Chief David L. Stokes announce that for the first time in Annapolis’ history, the Annapolis Fire Department has been elevated to a Class 2 Department by the Insurance Service Office, making it one of only four Class 2 Departments in the state.
Insurance Service Office Rating (ISO) coordinates with fire departments and local communities to evaluate their public fire-protection services. The program provides a countrywide standard that helps fire departments in planning and budgeting for facilities, equipment, and training. It may also be used for calculating lower fire insurance premiums for communities with better public protection.
“The department, under the leadership of Chief David L. Stokes, seized an opportunity to improve its department and it resulted in not only an increased rating but also more public confidence in the City’s ability to respond, protect and assist our citizens,” Mayor Cohen said.
The Annapolis Fire Department was elevated from a Class 3 to a Class 2 and currently Maryland does not have any Class 1 departments.
A Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10 is assigned through ISO data analysis collected from municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. A Class 1 represents exemplary public protection, while a Class 10 indicates poor fire protection. In the past Annapolis Fire Department had received a rating of 3 which is better than the national average.
“The department, in cooperation with Local 1926 president, Firefighter First Class Caroll Spriggs, searched the rating system for areas we could do better, Chief Stokes said. “The department focused on developing a training record management system, increasing our multi-company drills and night time training. Teamwork, along with the support of the community, has made this a memorable accomplishment.”
Here is the breakdown of the ISO ratings system:
Ten percent of the overall grading is based on how well the fire department receives fire alarms and dispatches its fire-fighting resources.
Fifty percent of the overall grading is based on the number of engine companies and the amount of water a community needs to fight a fire. ISO reviews the distribution of fire companies throughout the area and checks that the fire department tests its pumps regularly and inventories each engine company’s nozzles, hoses, breathing apparatus, and other equipment.
ISO also reviews the fire-company records to determine:
- type and extent of training provided to fire-company personnel
- number of people who participate in training
- firefighter response to emergencies
- maintenance and testing of the fire department’s equipment
Forty percent of the grading is based on the community’s water supply. This part of the survey focuses on whether the community has sufficient water supply for fire suppression beyond daily maximum consumption. ISO surveys all components of the water supply system, including pumps, storage, filtration and the amount of fire hydrants.
“We know that the City has an outstanding fire department and this recognition allows others to see how fortunate we are,” Public Safety Committee Chair and Alderwoman Sheila Finlayson said. “This rating puts our department in an elite class and the entire department deserves to be commended.”