NP gets first Class 1 fire rating in the state
NP gets first Class 1 fire rating in the state
NORTH PROVIDENCE - The North Providence Fire Department is the first department in the state, and just the 60th in the country, to win a Class 1 rating from the Insurance Services Organization.
The upgrade from a Class 2, which will take effect Nov. 1, is a big win for a department where members have been working hard for years to make improvements to firefighting capabilities, said Fire Chief Leonard Albanese Jr.
Albanese said "it is with great pride" that he announces the upgrade to a Class 1 rating. He said the new designation is good news for residents, who should now know that they live in one of the safest communities around. Residents and business owners will likely save money on their insurance bills as a result of the change, said Albanese.
The Class 1 rating is the highest available fire suppression rating. There are only six departments in New England that have attained it, according to a news release.
"There was never any doubt in my mind that we could be the best," said Mayor Charles Lombardi.
The ISO collects and evaluates information from communities across the U.S. on their structure fire suppression capabilities, according to Albanese. The data is analyzed using a fire suppression rating schedule and then a public protection classification number is given to the community from 1 to 10.
A Class 1 represents an exemplary fire suppression program and a Class 10 indicates that the area's fire suppression program does not meet ISO's minimum criteria. The program provides an objective, countrywide standard that helps fire departments in planning and budgeting for facilities, equipment and training.
A community's public protection classification survey depends on the overall operations of the fire department including equipment, staffing, training, geographic distribution of fire companies, operational considerations and community risk reduction. The review also analyzes the municipal water supply system and emergency communications systems.
The exemplary rating plays an important role in the underwriting process at insurance companies. Not only should our residents and business owners feel a sense of pride and security, according to fire officials, but they should also see savings when re-evaluating their insurance rates.
Fire personnel will be working with the ISO in the coming months to ensure that the town's commercial property owners and occupants are receiving the proper credit for the new rating and for any fire suppression systems that may be in place. ISO representatives will be in town visiting various properties to provide assistance.
What that means, said Albanese, is that fire personnel and ISO representatives will be working with local commercial property owners to make sure they are getting proper credit for the fire safeguards they have in place and should then save money on their insurance. Some properties might still be listed under Class 3 and 4 designations, he said.
Lombardi said the switch from a Class 2 to a Class 1 rating will save dollars for both commercial and residential property owners. The savings could be between 1.5 and 2 percent for many, he said.
Each insurance company independently determines the premiums it charges based on an ISO rating. The way an insurer uses the data on fire protection may depend on several things, according to the North Providence report from the ISO, including the company's fire-loss experience, rate-making methodology, underwriting guidelines and marketing strategy.
The North Providence Fire Department has been at a Class 2 rating for the past four years, according to Albanese and Lombardi.
Lombardi said he is "so proud" of the work put in by members of the department, especially Albanese and Communications Director Ralph Nahigian, to win the distinction. He said the win proves that his previous controversial decision to close down a fire station did not hurt the town.
A town's score is based 10 percent on communication, 40 percent on water supply, which the department does not control, and 50 percent on fire department operations, said the chief. He said fire officials "knew we were close" to a Class 1 rating years ago and began an all-out campaign to improve the department in the areas they could control.
Every aspect of the North Providence Fire Department has been made more professional, said Albanese. He said all members of the department should be "very proud" of what they've accomplished.
"This isn't an accomplishment of mine," he said. "I want to thank all the firefighters who worked really hard and accepted the changes."
Over the past four years, said Albanese, the department has been reorganized.
"We have focused on updating our apparatus, equipment, policies and procedures," he said. "We have concentrated heavily on firefighter safety and training. We pride ourselves on making all of our decisions and plans based on internationally recognized best practices for the fire service and in line with the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) Standards."
He said "it is extremely gratifying to see these efforts have been recognized by a nationally recognized and independent organization."