Serving Bartholomew County Since 1956
German Township Volunteer Fire Department
Emergency: 911
ISO

Background

Insurance Service Offices is a subsidiary of Verisk Analytics, and provides risk ratings to the insurance industry.  Those ratings can then be used by insurance companies to determine the potential for loss in various areas of the country.  This translates into the cost for an insurance premium that includes various factors, and in particular how the fire department would respond to a call if a building was on fire. 
Note: Not all insurance companies use ISO ratings for their premium rates.

What is a Fire Suppression Rating

ISO collects information about the fire protection efforts in a community, and then assigns a number for that rating from 1 to 10, with 1 being the best.  There are additional sub-ratings that are applied based upon the distance from the fire station and water sources.  The major categories for rating include the fire department, emergency communications, water supply, and community risk reduction.
The fire department assessment includes how many fire engines, ladder trucks, and service companies that we need versus how many we have; what equipment we need to have on those vehicles versus what we have; where the fire station is located in comparison to the protection area; how many firefighters are available; how our firefighters are trained; and how we respond to fires.  In addition to our fire department, our neighboring fire departments ratings are also calculated into our rating since we receive automatic aid from them on reported fires.
The rating of the emergency communications includes how fires are reported, our 9-1-1 communications facility, the receipt and processing of fire alarms, certification of the dispatchers, and auditing of the actual dispatching of fires within the community.
Evaluation of the water supply is done to ensure that the available supply is able to meet the needed flow to extinguish a fire when it might occur.  This includes where the water supply is (hydrant or pond locations); how much water it can flow (size of the hydrant, size of supply lines, amount of water stored in the water tower or pond); regular inspection to ensure the supply works as expected.   Every available supply has to be evaluated independently.
Community risk reduction includes the fire prevention codes, inspections, fire prevention staffing, and our fire prevention programs.

How are We Rated

Our current ISO rating is a 9.   This was last given in 1989.   There have been many changes to the community, the fire department, and our water systems since that time. 
The fact that it had been done so long ago was recently discovered, and in the time since the leadership of the department created a plan to address this.  That plan is currently being acted upon and we will be requesting a new rating be performed in the near future.