Savings from lower rating

Published 4:53 pm Tuesday, February 22, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - In this case a lower score is the winner.
Recently the Niles Fire Department received word that their rating from a group called Insurance Services Office (ISO), had been changed from a 5 to a 4 rating.
This news came after several years of effort from the firefighters, dispatchers and water department employees. ISO came and conducted their inspection of the city over several days last September.
Insurance Services Office started because in the early 1900s, there were major U.S. cities that suffered some disastrous fires that destroyed quite a lot of property.
In the aftermath of these fires, many insurance companies thought that they needed some advance information on the fire-loss characteristics of different communities.
The ISO's Public Protection Classification process came about because of this need. The program gives insurers some credible data to help them develop preminums that reflect the risk of loss due to fire in a particular location.
ISO takes a look at many different factors such as the departments dispatch systems, how many people they have on the scene, training the department receives, the way they provide water to the scene and the departments delivery of suppression of the fire, to determine what rating the department will receive.
According to the ISO website they analyze all of this relevant data and assigns a Public Protection Classification, a number from one to 10 to that department.
A class one represents exemplary fire protection for the community and a class 10 means that the areas fire-suppression program does not meet minimum criteria.
First, Lamb said, about four years ago Chief Jim Cripe, former chief of the department put the department on a course to improve their rating. This was done through improvement in apparatus, equipment and training.
The next thing that Lamb believes really help with this process was the Niles City Utilities Department. It workers who service the water system and the board continually seek to improve the infrastructure
Lamb would also like to thank the firefighters of both past and present who have made improvements in every possible aspect of their job to fulfill this goal, as well as the leaders of the community who have given support by in the way of infrastructure, equipment and quality personnel, so that the department has the ability to excel.
The last evaluation that was conducted in Niles was in 1982 and will likely need to be done again within the next 10 years.