The Monroe City Fire and Rescue training trailer, used to train local volunteer firefighters.

The Monroe City Fire Department (MCFD) has received their Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating for 2019. The rating is classified as a Public Protection Classification (PPC) and given on a scale of 1-10. The MCFD received a PPC 5 for their ISO rating. Fire Chief Rich Enochs explained, stating, “We have goals to try and get the ISO rating reduced to a four.”  Enochs explained, “With increased qualifications and harder standards, the smaller fire departments are having a harder time getting lower ratings.”

ISO collects data and provides vast amounts of information to many different groups. In the insurance industry, the ISO rating primarily serves both business and personal property and casualty insurers. When you receive a notice that your home owner’s replacement cost has increased, the data may have come from the ISO rating. Bringing the ISO rating down, could mean cheaper insurance for home and business owners. Enochs explained the MCFD plan to reduce the rating, stating, “We plan to have increased training and also update equipment.” The MCFD’s rescue truck is a 2003 model. To increase the rating, Enochs shared, “Trucks should be replaced every 15-20 years depending on use. I would like to see a new truck that would replace our rescue truck. We then could have the 2003 rescue truck go to the substation and replace the 1985 pumper.”

The current rescue truck has 1,250 gallons per minute pumping capacity, the 1985 truck at the substation has only a 750 gallon per minute pumping availability. By replacing the older pumper truck, the rural area substation would be able to pump more gallons per minute and help the ISO rating. Enochs stated, “I’m doing some research to see where we can further help the ISO rating.”

Mindy Hays, Shelter Insurance Agent, says, “In our area, we certainly see ISO ratings as factors in homeowners cost,” adding, “We have a diverse blend of customers that live in city limits and those that live outside city limits. The gist is, because homeowners insurance covers damage from fires, your insurance rate is often dependent on how likely your home is to burn down. One of the largest factors of this is how immediately firefighters can get to your home in the case of emergency. We did see homeowners insurance for residents inside city limits Monroe City go from a 4 to a 5 ISO rating in the last year.”

ISO has rated fire department authorities and the fire protection services in communities for years. The PPC program assesses the available data and rates the areas from 1 to 10, with 10 incurring the biggest losses per $1,000 of assets. Insurance companies use this data and assign a higher premium multiplier to areas with a higher number PPC rating.

In the past, the MCFD has used grants to help with funding and upkeep of the fire stations. Enochs stated, “It has been awhile since the department has received a grant. We need to find a grant writer that can help us file for grants.” Enochs referred to the surrounding areas sharing, “I don’t know any volunteer fire department that has an ISO 4. A lot are 5 and up.”

Enochs stated, “The ISO rating means a lot to me and I will work as hard as I possibly can to make it better.”

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