Insurance Service Organization (ISO) rating improves to a class 4
By Deputy Chief Josh Randolph
January 17, 2018

St. Stephens Fire Department is proud to announce it has achieved an Insurance Service Organization, (ISO), Public Protection Classification class 4 rating after our latest ISO survey. St. Stephens Fire Department improved from a class 5 to a class 4. The effective date for the new rating went into effect November 1st, 2017.
The new ISO rating may result in savings to a business and homeowners in the St. Stephens Fire Protection district in regard to fire insurance. Fire Chief Shawn Greene encourages all business and homeowners to contact your insurance provider to inquire how the new ISO rating may affect your policies.

Deputy Chief Josh Randolph gives credit to the members and administration staff of St. Stephens Fire Department which has worked diligently to attain this goal and has been honored by the acknowledgement and results from the North Carolina Department of Insurance. St. Stephens Fire Department has reached an elite level that many combination fire departments of the same size strive to reach. Deputy Chief Randolph would like to thank each and every member and community partner that helped to make this possible. “Thank you for all your hard work, dedication, and commitment to the St. Stephens community and for providing superior service.”

St Stephens Fire Department currently consists of 23 volunteer members and 14 full time career staff. St. Stephens Fire Department protects 20.32 square miles with a population of 14,240 residents and responded to 1,211 calls in 2017. The calls for service include but are not limited to Fire related emergencies, medical emergencies, medium rescue emergencies, and other emergencies that are deemed necessary by the proper authorities. Other services provided are prevention and educational programs, 911 address sign program, smoke and carbon monoxide program, knox box program and a Child Passenger Safety program. St. Stephens Fire Department is actively involved in Safe Kids Catawba County and assists with the Burned Children’s Fund.

The ISO rating program ranges from 1 – 10 with a 1 being the best achievable rating. The rating measures the departments’ readiness and response capabilities and is used by insurance companies to determine the price of property insurance. An improved rating suggests that a department is better prepared to respond to fires within its district. No matter the services provided, the department is rated on structure related responses only.

There are several components of an ISO rating inspection that are graded for the fire department service. Those components include; Emergency communications, the fire department, water supply and community risk reduction.

The emergency communications portion of the rating is primarily the responsibility of the 911 communication center which includes emergency reporting, telecomunicators, and dispatch circuits.

The fire department section is solely the responsibility of the fire department that is being inspected. This section is comprised of policies/procedures, training programs, staffing levels, engine response, equipment, facilities, the testing-maintenance-upkeep of equipment, mutual aide agreements, county contracts, etc. This is where the diligent work of each and every member comes into play.

The water supply section of the grade consists of basic and needed fire flow, number of hydrants and water points, hydrant maintenance, and the water department operations.

The community risk reduction section of the grading process is somewhat new to the ISO rating system. This section includes the work of the members and also the local Fire Marshal’s Office. This section graded on public safety programs, prevention and educational programs, code enforcement, fire inspections and investigations. Before the ISO rating, St. Stephens Fire Department added a fire safety house to its fleet of apparatus and put it into service. The fire safety house is a mobile educational tool that is used to educate adults and children on all types of fire and home safety. For the year of 2017, St. Stephens Fire Department displayed the fire safety house at 14 events, and educated a documented 2,285 youth and 286 adults. St. Stephens Fire Department also provided a special training opportunity to get members certified in the Fire and Life Safety Education program. Currently, St. Stephens has 5 fire and life safety educators.

The ISO rating process takes place on a 5 to 10 year rotation. The goal is always to improve the quality of service provided to the St. Stephens community in any way possible, but at a minimum we want to strive to maintain the ISO class 4. This will be achieved by the continued support of our community and the hard work of each and every member of this organization. St. Stephens Fire Department will continue to grow with staffing and equipment moving into the future to continue the superior service that we currently provide. The next major step for St. Stephens Fire Department is to continue to improve the member training by implementing a new training program.

I would like to congratulate Chief Greene, the staff, and the members of St. Stephens Fire Department for their performance and all of the hard work and dedication. “The citizens of the St. Stephens Fire District should rest easy knowing they have a fine group of firefighters protecting them and their property in case of an emergency”, said NC State Fire Marshal Mike Causey. “The rating is a fine testament to the hard work our members have put into improving our rating and making our community a safer place to work and live and we are immensely proud”, says Deputy Chief Josh Randolph.