What is Fox Chapel Borough’s PPC Classification/ISO Rating?
The Borough of Fox Chapel is a Class 5 community, last evaluated in 2016.
What Is ISO?
ISO stands for Insurance Services Office (ISO), which is an independent, for-profit organization. The ISO scores fire departments against its organization’s standards, and many insurance companies use PPC classifications to determine property insurance costs. The terms “ISO rating” and “PPC classification” are used interchangeably.
What is the Public Protection Classification (PPC) program?
In this program, ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. In each community, ISO analyzes the relevant data and assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area’s fire-suppression program doesn’t meet ISO’s minimum criteria. Communities are re-evaluated about every ten years.
What factors are considered when determining a community’s PPC classification?
- Needed Fire Flows, which are representative building locations used to determine the theoretical amount of water necessary for fire suppression purposes.
- Emergency Communications, including emergency reporting, telecommunicators, and dispatching systems.
- Fire Department, including equipment, staffing, training, geographic distribution of fire companies, operational considerations, and community risk reduction.
- Water Supply, including inspection and flow testing of hydrants, alternative water supply operations, and a careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires up to 3,500 gpm.
NOTE: The criteria considered when assigning a PPC classification recognizes fire protection features only as they relate to suppression of first alarm structure fires. In many communities, such as Fox Chapel Borough, fire suppression is just one aspect of the fire department’s overall responsibility.
How does this classification compare among all communities evaluated by ISO?
Fox Chapel is in the top 40%. Of 48,754 communities evaluated, 28,796 had a less favorable rating than Fox Chapel.
Why doesn’t Fox Chapel Borough have a better PPC classification?
A PPC classification/ISO rating of 5 is very good for a suburban community served by a 100% volunteer fire department. Attaining a top-tier classification is often only possible for communities that have a paid or combination paid/volunteer fire service with a full-time staffed station. The FCVFD also does not have a ladder or aerial truck which hurts our score, although with few non-residential structures in the Borough, a ladder truck is not justifiable. (The City of Pittsburgh is one of the very few communities with a Class 1 rating.)
The Borough of Fox Chapel’s PPC classification/ISO rating is evidence that the Borough has above average fire service and fire protection capabilities. The Borough has a well-trained, well-equipped 100% volunteer fire department, excellent dispatch and communication systems (through Allegheny County Emergency Services), and a reliable water supply made available with an extensive and well-maintained hydrant system. While being a Class 5 community is good, the members of the FCVFD believe that with our increasingly well-trained membership base we have the potential to attain a Class 4 rating in our next evaluation.