ISO Classification 3/3y

What is an ISO Classification? 

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ISO (Insurance Services Office, Inc.)  is an independent company that serves insurance companies, communities, fire departments, insurance regulators, and others by providing information about risk. ISO collects and evaluates information from communities in the United States on their structure fire suppression capabilities. The data is analyzed using a Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS), and then a Public Protection Classification (PPC™) grade from 1 to 10 is assigned to the community. Class 1 represents an exemplary fire suppression program, whereas Class 10 indicates that the community’s fire suppression program does not meet ISO’s minimum criteria.

ISO's PPC program evaluates communities according to a uniform set of criteria, incorporating nationally recognized standards developed by the National Fire Protection Association and the American Water Works Association. A  community's PPC grade depends on:

Fire Department, including equipment, staffing, training, geographic distribution of fire companies, operational considerations, and community risk reduction.

Emergency Communicationsincluding emergency reporting, telecommunicators, and dispatching systems.

Water Supply, including inspection and flow testing of hydrants, alternative water supply operations, and a careful evaluation of the amount of available water compared with the amount needed to suppress fires. This includes needed water flowswhich are representative building locations used to determine the theoretical amount of water necessary for fire suppression purposes.

Community Risk Reduction, community efforts to reduce fire risk, including fire prevention codes and enforcement, public fire safety education, and fire investigation programs.

Hanover Fire-EMS has received what is called a split classification.  The first number is the class that applies to properties within 5 road miles of the responding fire station and 1,000 feet of a creditable water supply, such as a fire hydrant, suction point, or dry hydrant. The second number is the class that applies to properties within 5 road miles of a fire station but beyond 1,000 feet of a creditable water supply. 

Hanover Fire-EMS serves 474 square miles, a large portion of which is rural with limited water supply. Fortunately, our Department can deploy large-capacity tankers if a fire should occur in these areas.

But how does it affect me?  

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In Hanover County, the residents who live in the 3Y areas are affected but still covered. Fire-EMS staff and the communications center know the areas with limited water supply. Fire responses to those areas automatically prompt the dispatch and response of large-capacity tankers, which carry 3000 gallons of water. If circumstances warrant, additional water resources can be requested to help. 

Please keep in mind that regardless of where you live, it is still up to the insurance company to determine your rates, and many have begun using their own rating methods rather than relying on the ISO.  


Call the Office of the Fire Marshal during normal business hours if you have any questions.

Monday-Friday 08:30 AM- 5:00 PM (804) 365-4850

Send us an email: [email protected]