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South Salt Lake Journal

Fire department earns top class fire score

Jul 12, 2021 03:02PM ● By Bill Hardesty

SSL Fire Department received a Class 1 rating in the latest ISO PPC audit. (Bill Hardesty/City Journals)

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

The South Salt Lake Fire Department received a top level fire score. At the April 28 City Council work meeting, Brian Larson, Utah field representative of the Insurance Service Office (ISO), announced the designation. 

“This is a pretty big deal to the men and women of the SSL Fire Department. We are pretty excited,” Chief Terry Addison said.


Addison announced the department went from a Class 3 rating to a Class 1 rating.

The ISO’s Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating, also known as a fire score, was started in 1970.

Every five years, the ISO performs a PPC audit. The SSL audit started last August and finished in April.

The PPC evaluation process works on a score from zero to 100. Because of extra credit points, a community could score a maximum of 106 points. If a community or a fire district receives 90 points or better, they receive a Class 1 rating. 

The PPC evaluation is a community fire suppression rating, not just a fire department’s evaluation.

“It is not just the fire department, but it is the city as a whole on how you provide fire protection for your community,” Addison said

According to the ISO’s website, The PPC evaluation process looks at four major areas.

  • Emergency communications systems
    A review of the emergency communications systems accounts for 10 points of the total classification. The review focuses on the community’s facilities and support for handling and dispatching alarms for structure fires.
  • Fire department
    A review of the fire department accounts for 50 points of the total classification. ISO focuses on a community’s fire suppression capabilities. We measure suppression capabilities based on the fire department’s first-alarm response and initial attack to minimize potential loss. Here, ISO reviews such items as engine companies, ladder or service companies, deployment of fire companies, equipment carried on apparatus, pumping capacity, reserve apparatus, company personnel, and training.
  • Water supply
    A review of the water supply system accounts for 40 points of the total classification. ISO evaluates the community’s water supply system to determine the adequacy for fire suppression purposes. It also considers hydrant size, type, and installation, as well as the frequency and completeness of hydrant inspection and flow-testing programs.
  • Community risk reduction
    It reviews a community’s risk reduction efforts which allows for extra credit of up to 5.5 points for a potential total of 105.5. That takes into account fire prevention code adoption and enforcement, public fire safety education, and fire investigation.

The ISO measures the effectiveness of public fire protection for structures in 38,000 fire districts across the country. Of the 38,000 fire districts, only 394 have received a Class 1 rating. Thus, those communities represent less than 1% of all rated communities.

SSL is the second in the state to receive a top rating. ISO does not make PPC ratings public. However, Addison said that Salt Lake City is the only other fire district to obtain a Class 1 distinction.

What does this mean to me?

A community’s ISO PPC rating is one factor used by insurance companies to determine fire insurance premiums.

The logic is with greater protection, any loss will result in an insurance company paying less, which transfers to lower premiums. Insurance companies use the ISO PPC rating differently.

Larson encourages residents and business owners to call their insurance agent to see how the class 1 rating affects their rates. Some insurers, such as State Farm, do not use ISO’s score to set homeowners’ premiums at all. Instead, they use their own metrics based on factors like historical fire data.