ISO stands for Insurance Services Office, the agency that determines risk for use in calculating property and casualty insurance.
PPC is the abbreviation for ISO’s Public Protection Classification program. Through regular evaluations of communities and their fire departments, a city will receive a PPC grade (also sometimes referred to as an ISO score) which determines the cost of fire insurance.
PPC grades are on a scale from 1-10, and the lower the number, the better the grade. Grades may also have a letter behind them (B, W, X, or Y) which adds more detail to the grade. Cities can have a split classification such as “1/1X”, which would mean their overall grade is a 1, but there are several homes in the city that are further than 1,000 feet from a creditable water source. Any area of town that is more than 7 road miles from a fire station is automatically rated a PPC 10.
ISO surveyors will inspect the following things within the city: Emergency communications systems; fire department suppression capabilities such 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 systems, including the frequency of hydrant inspections and flow-testing programs; and community risk reduction efforts, such as fire prevention code adoption, public fire safety education, and fire investigation. Additionally, the ISO will look at how far a home is from the nearest fire hydrant and the distance between the home and the nearest fire station. ISO scores all these things and determines a city’s PPC through the use of the ISO Fire Suppression Rating Schedule – the manual for evaluating fire protection.
The City of St. George is a PPC 3/3X, meaning we’re a PPC 3 overall, but we have several homes that are over 1,000 feet from a creditable water source. This is a good score! Remember: The lower the number, the better. Out of 327 Utah communities surveyed in 2019, only 36 communities had a PPC of 3 or better. There are some neighborhoods in St. George that are 7 miles or more from a fire station. Those neighborhoods are rated a PPC 10 due to their distance from the nearest fire station.
PPC grades are used to determine how much your fire insurance premiums cost. A better PPC could lower the cost of your fire insurance.