Madison ISO–a fire-related evaluation–rating improves
By Stephanie Johns
As of Sept. 1 the City of Madison has a lower Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating of 4/9.
ISOs range from 10 to 1, with 1 being the best. The city’s ISO rating was a 6 but thanks in large part to the firemen’s education it has been lowered 2 points.
Madison Fire Chief Gene Porter said that this lower ISO rating will benefit homeowners and businesses alike in the form of lower insurance premiums.
The ISO of 4 applies to any structure within 1,000 feet of a hydrant. The ISO of 9 refers to any structure beyond 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant.
Porter said that there are no insurable structures that are outside of 1,000 feet in the city limits of Madison and that new structures must be within 1,000 feet or else the appropriate water lines and hydrants must be installed.
He noted that many things go into an ISO rating and that training – both the amount and type – carries a large percentage.
“All 20 of our firefighters are pretty active and receive a fairly equal amount of training,” he said.
Porter said they do Fire Academy approved training. As an adjunct instructor for the State Fire Department that means Madison firefighters can travel less and get more of their training done here in the city.
Firefighters train on handling various hazardous materials as well as how to be an emergency medical responder, previously called a first responder.
In addition to stepping up training over the last three years, Porter said the water distribution system was improved thanks to the utility department and the Madison City Council, which allowed the improvements to take place.
The fire department’s communications system, engines and equipment also were evaluated.
“They look at how you receive and handle calls,” Porter said. “Do you have one or two dispatchers on duty? How many units were sent to a particular fire? Do we use 9-1-1 or Enhanced 9-1-1?”
As to the engines and equipment, the number and type of each are considered.
And then there’s the water: How is it treated? How much is kept in reserve? How much is in the lines?
“It’s a very in-depth review of operations,” he said.
Printed in the September 20, 2012 edition