Raleigh Receives Class 1 Fire Protection Rating

Big news announced yesterday in this city press release, which I’ve adapted here: The City of Raleigh has received a Public Protection Classification (PPC) Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Office (ISO). This achievement is the highest rating possible for Raleigh s state of readiness and defense against potential fire risk and property loss.

ISO rates more than 48,000 fire protection districts across the United States and less than 0.4% (204) hold a Class 1 rating.1

For the past eighteen months, ISO has evaluated the city’s ability to prevent, respond to, investigate, and extinguish fires. Moving from a Class 3 rating to a Class 1 establishes the City of Raleigh as a superior fire protection district, and which may result in a cost savings to insurance premium payers.

Potential Cost Savings For Insurance Premiums

Insurers create their own risk model and use the PPC rating to determine their risk, and ultimately, insurance premiums within a fire district. Depending upon the insurer, citizens of Raleigh may see a reduction in their insurance premiums, though the greatest decrease is expected in the commercial property industry.

Fire protection district ratings range from a Class 1 to a Class 10. A Class 1 rating signifies the least risk for an insurer, while a Class 10 indicates that there is essentially no fire protection.

Fire Department, Water System, Emergency Communications Evaluated

ISO evaluates the local fire department, the local water distribution system, and the emergency communications center. The fire department leads the evaluation process and is responsible for 50 percent of the overall score, while water and emergency communications account for 40 percent and 10 percent respectively.

The City of Raleigh Public Utilities Department maintains two water treatment facilities, nineteen elevated water towers, 2,365 miles of water mains, and 20,817 public hydrants. There are also 6,213 privately owned hydrants connected to Raleigh s water distribution system. Both public and private hydrants must meet the same standards and flow capacity requirements during the ISO evaluation.

The Raleigh/Wake Emergency Communications Center received a near perfect rating from ISO. In 2015, they processed 619,499 calls.

Class 1 Fire Department

The City of Raleigh Fire Department operates twenty-nine engines and nine ladders from twenty-eight fire stations. In 2015, they answered 38,053 calls.

In addition to fire suppression, the Raleigh Fire Department provides first responder Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), technical rescue, and haz-mat response services, participates in a regional Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR), and serves as one of the state’s seven Hazardous Materials Regional Response Teams (RRT). These additional services enhance the fire department s mission, but are not part of the ISO evaluation of fire protection capabilities.

The City of Raleigh has historically maintained a Class 3 rating. The Class 1 rating takes effect August 1, 2016. The next scheduled ISO evaluation will occur around December 2018. Also worth noting is that the rating improvement was achieved at no cost, by a staff of 25 City employees from the three aforementioned City departments.


1In North Carolina, there are only eight Class 1 fire protection districts out of 1,700+. They include Cary, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greensboro, High Point, and now Raleigh. (Four of those were attained last year. See prior blog archives post about Cary and Charlotte.)

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