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Chief Rittinghouse told the Council the ISO rating for the City of Louisburg and Fire District No. 1 has been lowered due to improvements and updated safety standards implemented at the station. An ISO fire rating is issued by the Insurance Services Office and is based on how well equipped a fire department is in putting out structure fires.
“There are only 10 percent of fire departments in the state that meet this requirement,” Rittinghouse said. An ISO Class 3 rating is very difficult for a volunteer unit to achieve, he said, and is a great testament to the work the volunteers put into the department.
Rittinghouse compiled the information for the review. The review includes proof of training, proof of new equipment and proven response times.
“We’re usually out the door in four to five minutes and usually have 10 volunteers on a call,” the chief said. The new rating only relates to structure fires.
He said other factors that contribute to a positive ISO rating are the tests conducted on all hydrants by the department, all hydrant locations are available via GPS and the department has a secondary communication method with dispatch. Other factors include the department working with the Marais des Cygnes Public Utility Authority, the city’s water plant, to verify water pressure, testing of hydrants and the PUA’s day-to-day routine all benefits the ratings changes
Insurance companies that provide homeowner insurance use this number when setting premiums. A lower ISO number can result in a drop in premium cost. Rittinghouse said the new ISO rating goes into effect Sept. 1, 2020. The city moved from an ISO rating of 4 to 3. Some areas in the rural fire district moved from 9 to a 6 rating. The highest ISO rating is a 10.
“This rating drop will result in a bit of a savings on insurance if you are in the classification area,” Rittinghouse said. He suggested that homeowners contact their insurance company in August if they haven’t been notified of a change to their premium. He said savings residents can depend on the type of insurance they and their insurance company.
Commercial businesses will also benefit from the new ISO rating and they may see a significant savings in insurance premiums, he said.
An ISO rating can be reviewed every five years. Rittinghouse said the last review for the Louisburg station was about 10 years ago.
“This was an entire department effort. It is based on each volunteer’s certifications, training hours, education and number of calls made,” the chief said.
The fire chief is the only paid employee on the fire department staff. All others are volunteers. There is a five-person command staff with an additional 15 volunteers.
The entire ISO review process takes about 7 months. This includes collecting reports and data and then working with the ISO review process.
Rittinghouse said the department is still working with the county sheriff’s office to improve communications between dispatch and the Louisburg fire department which could further lower the ISO rating in the future.