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Insurance Rating Upgrade for Pine Bluff Fire Department

City's recent passage of the 5/8 cent sales tax gets some of the credit.
PINE BLUFF, AR (News Release) - The City of Pine Bluff’s Fire & Emergency Services Department (PBF&ES) has received official notice from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) of an upgrade to the City’s Fire Protection Classification to a Class 2 ISO rating.

Fire Chief Shauwn Howell was notified on Friday, May 3 and the change in classification will be effective August 1st. According to the report provided by ISO there are only thirteen other fire departments in the state of Arkansas with a Class 2 ISO rating.

This new improved rating is the outcome of an extensive review by ISO in the 4th quarter of 2012. The last review was completed in May of 2000 which resulted in the classification of a Class 3 fire department.

ISO conducts field visits in order to collect information on municipal fire protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. ISO analyzes the relevant data using a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). ISO then 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 does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria. So basically an ISO rating is a report card of the Fire Department.

Insurance companies use this ISO rating during the underwriting process, deciding what business to write, coverages to offer, and prices to charge, for homeowners and commercial insurance policies.

ISO has proven a correlation between excellent fire protection and low fire losses in the community.

Many factors are examined during a field visit by an ISO reviewer.
  • Fire Department Operations, accounts for 50% of the grade
  • The Fire Department is graded upon first alarm response and initial attack, the number of engines and truck companies, equipment carried on apparatus, staffing and training.
  • Also reviewed are any Automatic Aid agreements with neighboring fire departments.
  • Water Supply, accounts for 40 % of the score.
  • Water supply is graded on water flow capacity, types of hydrants and condition of hydrants.
  • Fire Alarm Communication Operations, accounts for 10% of the grade. This area grades how the dispatch center is staffed, evaluates equipment and dispatch systems, and how calls are handled.
An important factor that helped in the upgrading of Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services ISO rating was the city’s passing of the 5/8 cent sales tax. The funding from the sales tax has allowed improvements in fire station facilities, purchasing of new fire apparatus and equipment, and an increase in staffing.

The upgrading of PBF&ES’ ISO rating could help reduce fire insurance premiums throughout the city. Property owners are urged to contact their insurance company regarding this new classification.

There are approximately 1000 fire departments surveyed by ISO throughout Arkansas. Pine Bluff is just one of fourteen departments to earn a class 2 rating.

A Class 2 ISO rating is something the City of Pine Bluff and the community as a whole should be very proud of. However, it would not be possible without the outstanding work by the men and women of Pine Bluff Fire & Emergency Services and the support of our residents and elected officials.
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