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Fire Department

Posted on: March 30, 2015

Fire Department Receives Insurance Service Office's Top Rating

Newport News one of just 97 agencies in the country and 3 in Virginia with Class 1 Rating


Newport News City Manager Jim Bourey today announced that the Insurance Service Office has upgraded the Fire Department’s Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating to Class 1, which indicates superior property fire protection capabilities. The PPC ratings are used by the insurance industry to help establish fire insurance premiums for the community and it is anticipated that the upgrade could provide savings of approximately 1% on residential insurance premiums and 3% on commercial insurance premiums. This rating upgrade is effective July 1, 2015. “This rating upgrade reflects our dedication to providing citizens with exemplary fire protection services,” said Bourey. “I commend the Fire Department, Newport News Waterworks, and the staff of the 911 Center for this designation and for their commitment to keeping our residents safe.” Only 97 fire-response jurisdictions out of nearly 49,000 in the country have a Class 1 rating, with just three in Virginia including Charlottesville and Fairfax County. Newport News has the only fire department in Virginia that has a Class 1 PPC rating and is also accredited through the Commission on Fire Accreditation International; there are 26 such dually recognized agencies in the United States. Newport News hosted the evaluation team in October 2014. The Class 2 rating was awarded to Newport News in 2009. The Insurance Service Office (ISO) evaluates and grades municipal fire departments throughout the country on their ability to provide fire protection services within their community. The office uses what is known as the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) to evaluate the department’s station locations, training of personnel, apparatus and equipment, the community’s water supply and the 911 emergency communications center. ISO analyzes relevant data and assigns a Public Protection Classification — a grading from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire suppression program does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria. A community’s PPC depends on:

  • emergency communications systems, including facilities for the public to report fires, staffing, training, certification of telecommunicators, and facilities for dispatching fire departments;
  • the fire department, including equipment, staffing, training, and geographic deployment of fire companies;
  • the water supply system, including the inspection and flow testing of hydrants and a careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires; and
  • community efforts to reduce the risk of fire, including fire prevention codes and enforcement, public fire safety education, and fire investigation programs.

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