Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins along with City of Columbia and Richland County officials are proud to announce the results of the recent Insurance Services Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification (PPC) ratings. The City of Columbia has received a Class 1 and Richland County has received a Class 2. The City of Columbia’s previous rating was a PPC Class 2 and Richland County had a split ISO ratting of a PPC Class 4/9.
Chief Aubrey D. Jenkins stated, “This is a tremendous achievement for the Columbia Fire Department as well as the City of Columbia and Richland County. I commend the members of my staff that devoted countless hours of preparation that went into getting ready for the inspection and I would also like to thank the City of Columbia’s Water Division and Columbia-Richland Communications for their partnerships through this process.”
Many insurance companies use ISO as one factor of many that go into determining fire protection ratings to further determine homeowner and business insurance premiums. The PPC classification ranges from 1; denoting superior fire protection, to 10; which indicates almost no fire protection is available. The Insurance Services Office has been evaluating and assigning ratings to fire departments since 1971.
ISO currently rates over 48,600 fire-protection areas within the United States of which 601 are in South Carolina. The City of Columbia’s new ISO PPC Class 1rating establishes it with an elite group of less than 1% nationally achieving this rating. Furthermore the Columbia Fire Department is now one of only 14 fire-protection areas in South Carolina to currently have a Class 1 rating. This is the City of Columbia’s first Class 1 rating in the Columbia Fire Department’s 113 year history. This Class 2 is for properties within five road miles of a fire station.
Richland County has obtained its highest rating by advancing to a Class 2 from a Class 4, after its last inspection in 2006. This Class 2 rating places Richland County in the top 2% nationally and is one of only 73 of the 601 fire-protection areas in the State to reach this significant accomplishment.
The process of determining a fire protection rating includes a comprehensive evaluation of four major components. These components are:
- 911 Centers’ ability to answer/dispatch calls efficiently
- Dispatching hardware/software upgrades
- Backup generator power for call center
- Water Supply
- Robust City pressurized system (hydrants)
- New pressurized system in the Richland County area (Hopkins)
- Substantial Rural Water Supply Strategy to include daily/weekly training and record retention
- Fire Service
- Training-efficiency, frequency & record retention
- An aggressive equipment/apparatus replacement & inventory accountability/tracking program
- Exemplary record of response times to structure fires
- Community Risk Reduction (also known as prevention/education/code enforcement)
- Juvenile fire setter intervention programs
- A grass roots Smoke Alarm installation program
- Code Enforcement program supported by a collaborative team effort by both City & County Code Officials