BY BRENDA DOMINICK
Clarkston News Staff Writer
The Independence Township Fire Department received their final overall report on Jan. 25 and their new PPC rating is at 3 for the township.
“On a scale from 1 to 10, 1 is like golf, the low score is better,” said Fire Chief Mitch Petterson. “One demonstrates exemplary fire protection program; a 10 would say that the Fire Department doesn’t meet the ISO standards.”
“So that means that no matter where you live in the township, this report says that ISO tells the insurance companies that we can put your housefire out the same whether you have a fire hydrant in the front yard, or you’re all the way up the north end in the township without having a fire hydrant there,” Petterson said.
Petterson presented the Insurance Services Office (ISO) Reevaluation and Report of Change in Public Protection Class (PPC) rating at the Feb. 6 Township Board
This evaluation, completed in November 2017, was conducted by Verisk, a third-party consultant group.
ISO issues each community throughout the United States a PPC rating to assess risks and set insurance rates for personal property or homeowners insurance, and commercial properties.
The evaluation is conducted using a uniform set of criteria; Needed Fire Flows, Emergency Communications, Fire Department Capabilities, and Water Supply. The ISO Evaluation also includes a visit to the Water Department and Emergency Communications Center (Dispatch), which involves a review of the fire department operations, including facilities (location, staffing, equipment); apparatus (quantity, age, equipment, maintenance); Personnel (staffing numbers, training, utilization and deployment); and Fire Department Operations (deployment of resources, policies and procedures, fire prevention and community risk reduction).
The Independence Township had a split rating, 8 and 4, in the previous test, which is done every 10 years.
“We had a split rating because we’re a little unique in a sense that we have areas covered by fire hydrants and then areas that are not covered by fire hydrants. So, we had a PPC rating of 4 roughly within the water district, within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant. Then we had a PPC class of 8b and that’s outside of the water district – any addresses in the township that were more than 1,000 feet from a fire hydrant.”
“So, what that means is that areas in 8b are likely to see higher homeowner’s insurance rates and higher commercial property rates because the underwriters say you’re more likely to burn down because we don’t have the water availability to put out a fire,” the chief said.
According to national statistics in 2017, with 40,000+ districts, Independence Township Fire Department was one of 3,456 districts who received a Class 3 rating, and Chief Petterson was happy with that outcome. The chief plans on sending out a notice on social media as well as suggestions to residents on what actions to take for improvements.
“Moving forward, we’ll release something to the press, as well as all of our social media accounts, with some information to the residents on what this means and what ISO and Verisk suggest they do, once this May 1st change comes along,” Petterson said. “I live in the township and I fully intend on calling my insurance agent and finding out what it is for me.”
The chief said the evaluation is historic based, not a test that the department can necessarily study for, instead it is based on performance over a period of time.