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GIFD receives top rating from Insurance Services Office--only 241 fire depts. in U.S. to receive #1 rating

Post Date:April 05, 2017 9:00 a.m.

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Contact:                     Wendy Meyer-Schmidt, Public Information Officer
Work Phone:              308.385.5444 ext.148
Cell Phone:                308.391.0961
Pages:                        2
Release Date:             April 5, 2017—Immediate


Grand Island Fire Department receives top rating from Insurance Services Office

            GRAND ISLAND, Nebr.—The City of Grand Island Fire Department (GIFD) has received the Insurance Services Office (ISO) top rating of Class 1. The Grand Island Fire Department was previously rated as a Class 3.   

            The Class 1 rating has been achieved by less than 1 percent of fire departments nationwide. Prior to the Grand Island Fire Department, there were no Class 1 fire departments in Nebraska. The ISO currently evaluates 46,042 fire departments in the United States with only 241 fire departments earning a Class 1 rating. 

            Fire Departments in the United States are rated by the ISO to determine a Public Protection Classification (PPC) for individual cities. This rating is published by the ISO and used by insurance companies to determine insurance rates. The ISO develops a PPC number on a scale from 1 to 10, with one being the very best and 10 representing less than minimum recognized fire protection. In general, the price of fire insurance in a community with a good PPC is substantially lower than in a community with a poor PPC. 

            When the ISO evaluates a fire department’s capabilities it uses a system called the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). The FSRS considers three main areas of a community’s fire suppression capabilities including emergency communications, fire department, and water supply. 

            The key elements evaluated for a fire department include response capabilities, adequate staffing of fire personnel on fire engines and ladder companies, fire station distribution, equipment and apparatus, training, water supply, organizational structure, communications and building/fire prevention codes and enforcement. Recently the FSRS added a community risk reduction section that gives additional credit for fire prevention, public education, and fire investigation programs.

            The GIFD made several changes since the last ISO evaluation in 2012 that warranted the top rating achieved by the department. One change was in the area of personnel. Since 2012 the GIFD has added two life safety inspectors, created the shift commander position, and changed the minimum staffing level. The cost associated with these personnel changes were largely offset by restructuring the department which involved the elimination of a division chief position. In addition to the personnel changes, the GIFD purchased a second aerial quint and was awarded a $533,364 Homeland Security grant to help purchase a training tower. Furthermore, the department also strengthened its inspection, education, and investigation programs.     

            Fire Chief Cory Schmidt said, “The improved rating was made possible because of the hard work and dedication of not only our department members but also the water department and dispatch center.  Without the overwhelming support we have received from the current and past mayors, city administrators, council members, and most importantly the residents of Grand Island, this rating wouldn’t have been achieved.  I’m extremely proud of the transformational work taking place at every level in our department. The ISO rating affirms that the GIFD is one of the best fire departments in the nation. 

           The new PPC rating will become effective July 1. As a result of the improved ISO rating, property owners in Grand Island are encouraged to check with their insurance companies to see how the new rating will affect their insurance rates. 

            The GIFD is made up of 70 dedicated men and women and are an all-hazards department that responds to a variety of emergencies such:  fires, medical calls, hazardous materials, confined space, vehicle collisions, technical rescue, and aircraft incidents. The department responded to approximately 5000 emergency calls in 2016.        

            For more information about the GIFD, go to,, or


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