Clanton lowers fire suppression capability rating

Published 2:42 pm Thursday, August 18, 2016

Clanton has lowered its Insurance Services Office rating, which could save homeowners on their property insurance—and give residents peace of mind.

Clanton Fire Department Chief David Driver said he was notified that the city’s new rating is 4, down from a 5.

A lower ISO rating reflects better fire suppression capabilities.

Clanton’s ISO rating was 6 when Driver became chief in 2008, he said.

At that time, it had been since 1988 since Clanton had been graded.

“That was one of my goals was to get them in here and get a grade and see where we were and what we needed to work on,” Driver said.

Ratings are now typically reviewed every five years.

ISO has evaluated and classified more than 48,000 fire protection areas across the country.

Clanton is one of 6,115 communities placed in Class 4.

There are 97 communities in Class 1; 917 in Class 2; 2,891 in Class 3; 9,144 in Class 5; 8,512 in Class 6; 5,028 in Class 7; 1,527 in Class 8; 1,358 in Class 8B; 11,530 in Class 9; and 1,736 in Class 10.

Though a community’s fire department “receives” the grade, ISO considers factors beyond the department’s control. Fifty percent of the grade is based on the fire department, while 40 percent of the grade is based on a community’s water system and 10 percent is based on communications.

For the water system portion, ISO looks at the proximity of fire hydrants to structures and water pressure available, among other factors.

Fire departments are graded on apparatuses, facilities, pre-fire planning and life safety inspections, hose test, pump test, standard operating procedures, incident management systems and training.

“Most of it is record keeping,” Driver said. “They want you to show them the previous three years results of pump tests, previous three years results of hose tests.”

CFD opened a third station in Clanton in 2013, which Driver said likely helped lower the city’s ISO rating.

Among other considerations, the fire department is graded on its pre-fire plans, which are developed by visiting every commercial building in the city (there are more than 600 of them, including businesses, schools and churches) and noting layouts, presence of sprinkler systems and more.

“Were we to ever have a fire, we would have a record of that building,” Driver said.

Driver thanked Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver and the city council for their support of the department.

“All of this wouldn’t be possible without them,” he said. “All these things cost money. They’ve been really good to provide what we needed.”