GIS assists fire department Insurance Services Organization (ISO) inspection


The Insurance Services Organization (ISO) is an advisory organization
that evaluates risk with the objective to help their customers measure,
manage, and reduce risk. In a government setting, ISO will gather
information that is often used in insurance underwriting. Therefore they
will evaluate how well a municipality manages and mitigates risk and
those factors directly affect residents and their insurance premiums.

Fire department staff in Elk Grove Village were aware of an ISO
inspection that would be taking place in the near future and chose to
utilize Geographic Information System (GIS) resources to communicate the
municipal services that are provided and managed to ISO. The Public
Protection Classification (PPC) program, a fire protection analysis, and
their Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS) would be used by ISO in
this case to assign a rating for the community on a scale of 1 to 10,
with Class 1 providing the best fire protection.

GIS was first leveraged to identify the water system including water
main location and diameter, and hydrant locations and their unique
identification numbers. Hydrant flow test information was then
incorporated into the hydrant GIS layer from an existing spreadsheet
that is maintained by the fire department. GIS analysis was performed to
determine a series of response areas based on varying criteria. One
example is a 1.5 mile response area from each fire station which easily
shows areas that are within that distance from a fire station. Similar
response areas were determined from the fire stations considering a time
factor rather than distance.

This information was distributed in multiple formats to meet the
needs of the fire department personnel. The map images were placed at a
shared location where fire staff could view and/or print them. The data
was also made available in an ArcReader (PMF) Project. ArcReader is a
free product that allows fire staff the opportunity to view an
interactive map of the community along with all of the specific ISO
inspection data they requested.

Much more fire information is being incorporated into the GIS and
electronic format to provide locational information that allows for
quick modification to existing projects and products and the creation of
new ones which, as discussed here, can significantly impact and assist a