New Public Protection Classification
In the Fall of 2009, Insurance Services, Inc. contacted officials at Millcreek Township in order to begin the process of analyzing the township’s fire protection services. ISO is an independent company that provides information to insurance companies, municipalities and fire departments. Their statistical data offers a relationship between quality fire protection and the ability to limit fire losses.
According to the recent ISO report, several criteria are analyzed and then a Public Protection Classification is assigned – between 1 and 10 – Class 1 representing an “exemplary fire suppression program” and Class 10 indicating a program that “does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria.”
The three primary areas that are examined by ISO are:
- Fire Alarm and Communication Systems – the number of telephone lines available, the dispatching system and staffing of the dispatch center.
- The Fire Department – equipment, staffing, training and geographic distribution.
- Water Supply System – system condition, hydrants and availability.
Insurance companies utilize the PPC to determine the premiums that individuals pay on their homes and commercial buildings. The lower the PPC classification, the lower the insurance premium.
For over 20 years, Millcreek Township ’s PPC has been “5”, a very good classification for a municipality served exclusively by volunteer fire departments. During the past decade however, improvements to the water supply system and within the fire departments, and recent changes in the dispatch system, have resulted in an improved PPC classification for the Township. Effective September 1, 2010 Millcreek ’s new PPC will be a “4”.
Of the 48,324 communities in the U.S. that ISO provides a rating, only 15% have achieved a rating of “4” or better. In Pennsylvania , Millcreek ’s “4” places them in the top 9%. Those numbers include communities with fully paid departments, as well as those served by volunteers.
Many improvements in the township’s overall fire suppression system played roles in the new rating. Expansion of public water service and the accompanying hydrants, to areas previously served through private wells and without hydrants, were key elements. The County’s new emergency dispatch center provides for an increased number of incoming lines and dispatchers, also very important to fire response.
The volunteer departments have made significant strides in improving how they operate. Modern, well maintained fire apparatus, training, record keeping and an increase in personnel were all key to improving Millcreek ’s PPC rating.
Millcreek residents and owners of commercial building are urged to contact their insurance providers and inform them of the new PPC rating for the Township. A copy of the ISO notification letter (in PDF format) is provided, should your insurance company request additional proof of the rating change. Insurance carriers might not automatically change the classification on your policy and or refuse to make the change until the policy’s renewal date. The improved PPC might only provide for a slight change in residential premiums, however commercial rates might be more significantly impacted. Contacting your insurance company is the first step.
The Millcreek Supervisors would like to express their gratitude to the township’s volunteers, along with the other agencies that helped make the improvement to the PPC. The Supervisors stated that “ The volunteers’ and others’ efforts, have helped to keep residents and businesses safe. Now those efforts may realize a financial savings. We urge property owners to continue supporting the volunteer fire departments, so they may continue to serve.”