What is ISO anyway?

ISO is an organization that evaluates municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. 

What is FSRS?

The Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) is a manual containing the criteria ISO uses in reviewing the fire prevention and fire suppression capabilities of individual communities or fire protection areas.

 

How it works

The FSRS lists a large number of items that a community should have to fight fires effectively. The schedule is performance based and assigns credit points for each item. Using the credit points and various formulas, ISO calculates a total score on a scale of 0 to 105.5.

The FSRS considers three main areas of a community’s fire suppression system: emergency communications, fire department (including operational considerations), and water supply. In addition, it includes a Community Risk Reduction section that recognizes community efforts to reduce losses through fire prevention, public fire safety education, and fire investigation.

Emergency communications

A maximum of 10 points of a community’s overall score is based on how well the fire department receives and dispatches fire alarms. Our field representatives evaluate:

  • the emergency reporting system
  • the communications center, including the number of telecommunicators
  • computer-aided dispatch (CAD) facilities
  • the dispatch circuits and how the center notifies firefighters about the location of the emergency

Fire department

A maximum of 50 points of the overall score is based on the fire department. ISO reviews the distribution of fire companies throughout the area and checks that the fire department tests its pumps regularly and inventories each engine and ladder company’s equipment according to NFPA 1901. ISO also reviews the fire company records to determine factors such as:

  • type and extent of training provided to fire company personnel
  • number of people who participate in training
  • firefighter response to emergencies
  • maintenance and testing of the fire department’s equipment

Water supply

A maximum of 40 points of the overall score is based on the community’s water supply. This part of the survey focuses on whether the community has sufficient water supply for fire suppression beyond daily maximum consumption. ISO surveys all components of the water supply system. We also review fire hydrant inspections and frequency of flow testing. Finally, we count the number of fire hydrants that are no more than 1,000 feet from the representative locations.

Community risk reduction

The Community Risk Reduction section of the FSRS offers a maximum of 5.5 points, resulting in 105.5 total points available in the FSRS. The inclusion of this section for “extra points” allows recognition for those communities that employ effective fire prevention practices, without unduly affecting those who have not yet adopted such measures. The addition of Community Risk Reduction gives incentives to those communities who strive proactively to reduce fire severity through a structured program of fire prevention activities.

The areas of community risk reduction evaluated in this section include:

  • fire prevention
  • fire safety education
  • fire investigation