A company called ISO (Insurance Services Office) creates ratings for fire departments and surrounding communities. The ratings calculate how well-equipped a fire department is to put out fires in that community. ISO provides this score, often called the “ISO fire score,” to homeowners’ insurance companies. The insurers then use it to help set homeowners insurance rates. The more well-equipped your fire department is to put out a fire, the less likely your house is to burn down. And that makes your home less risky, and therefore less expensive, to insure.

An ISO fire insurance rating, also referred to as a fire score or Public Protection Classification (PPC), is a score from 1 to 10 that indicates how well-protected your community is by the fire department. In the ISO rating scale, a lower number is better: 1 is the best possible rating, while a 10 means the fire department did not meet the ISO’s minimum requirements.

According to the ISO’s Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS), there are four main criteria to a fire rating score:

  • 50% comes from the quality of your local fire department including staffing levels, training and proximity of the firehouse.
  • 40% comes from availability of water supply, including the prevalence of fire hydrants and how much water is available for putting out fires.
  • 10% comes from the quality of the area’s emergency communications systems (911).
  • An extra 5.5% comes from community outreach, including fire prevention and safety courses.
  • Any area more than 5 driving miles from the nearest firehouse is automatically rated a 10.

Corolla Fire & Rescue’s current ISO rating is a 5, which is extremely good for a rural fire department. CFR nearly achieved a 4 rating following its last ISO inspection but, ultimately, it was simply not possible to obtain a 4 rating given water supply issues in Corolla. Corolla Fire & Rescue improved it’s ISO rating from 6 to 5 in 2018; this saved homeowners hundreds of dollars in insurance premiums annually.

Corolla Fire & Rescue also has mutual aid agreements with various neighboring fire departments, including Carova VFD, Duck Fire Department and Southern Shores Fire Department. In simple terms, mutual aid is an agreement among fire departments to lend assistance across jurisdictional boundaries. This may occur due to an emergency response that exceeds local resources, such as a disaster or a multiple-alarm fire.

Additionally, Corolla Fire & Rescue is part of the Currituck County Tanker Task Force. Due to the paucity of fire hydrants on Currituck Mainland, tankers are a key element of water supply for fighting fires. As such, Corolla Fire & Rescue will be called on to bring a tanker truck to structure fires on the Mainland.