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Hickory Fire Department Receives Class 1 Fire Protection Rating

Hickory Fire Department Receives Class 1 Fire Protection Rating

Sep 16, 2020 | Fire , Communications

The City of Hickory Fire Department has received the distinction of earning a Class 1 Public Protection Classification rating, commonly known as an ISO rating, by the Insurance Services Office (ISO). ISO is an organization that independently evaluates fire protection efforts in communities across the United States. An ISO Class 1 rating is the highest rating possible and ranks the Hickory Fire Department among the nation’s best, as less than 1 percent of fire departments achieve this distinction.

An ISO (Insurance Services Office) fire score rating is determined by how well a local fire department can protect its community. Insurance companies then use this score to help set property insurance rates, as a home or business that is less likely to be severely damaged or destroyed by fire costs less to insure. Hickory’s Class 1 rating, which officially becomes effective on December 1, validates that the Hickory Fire Department provides residents, visitors, and businesses with industry-leading fire protection services.

Hickory Fire Department oversees three fire districts: Hickory, Brookford, and Hickory rural. All three districts received a Class 1 rating. Of 1,200 fire districts across the state, Hickory Fire Department’s three districts became the 14th, 15th, and 16th to achieve a Class 1 rating. This accomplishment was a team effort that included City of Hickory Public Utilities, Catawba County Communications, and members of the Hickory Fire Department.

“This improvement in Hickory’s ISO rating from a Class 3 to Class 1 is an impressive achievement that will benefit local property owners and businesses with lower insurance premiums,” said Hickory City Manager Warren Wood.

Fire Chief Matt Hutchinson added, “The Hickory Fire Department has a proud tradition of providing excellent service and will continue to maintain the high standards expected by our community. We are extremely proud of this accomplishment.”

What is an ISO rating?
ISO (Insurance Services Office) is an insurance advisory organization that creates ratings based on specific criteria to determine how well equipped a fire department is to put out fires in their communities. The rating scale ranges from 1 (highest) to 10 (no recognized fire protection), with most rural districts falling into the 9S category.

How is the ISO rating determined?
An inspection is conducted by officials with the North Carolina Department of Insurance Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM). The 100 point scale is based on four key areas: the fire department’s staffing, capabilities, training, and equipment, etc. (50 points); the city’s water supply/infrastructure (40 points); emergency communication systems (10 points); and community risk reduction programs (extra credit of up to 5.5 points).

How does an ISO rating affect the community?
A higher rating suggests that a department is overall better equipped to respond to fires in its district. Higher ratings can also significantly lower insurance rates in that fire district. Hickory property owners are encouraged to contact their insurance agent to determine what savings are available after the new rating takes effect.


City of Hickory

76 North Center Street
Hickory, North Carolina 28601
Phone: (828) 323-7400
Fax: (828) 323-7550



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