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The original item was published from 2/3/2016 10:57:52 AM to 10/19/2016 3:02:28 PM.

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Posted on: February 3, 2016

[ARCHIVED] Fire Department earns upgrade in ISO Rating for the first time in 45 years

For the first time in 45 years, the Sterling Heights Fire Dept announced Tuesday its PPC has improved from a “4” rating to a “2” rating, which places the Department among only two other departments in Michigan at this caliber, Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.

For the first time in 45 years, the Sterling Heights Fire Department announced Tuesday its Public Protection Classification (PPC) has improved from a “4” rating to a “2” rating, which places the Department among only two other departments in Michigan at this caliber — Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids.

According to historical information received from retired Fire Chiefs John Childs and Ken Durham, the Sterling Heights Fire Department had held the PPC rating of “4 “since 1971 when it was upgraded from a “7” rating after the opening of Fire Station 4 on 15 Mile Road.
For the past several months, the Sterling Heights Fire Department has been evaluated by the Insurance Services Office (ISO), which rates Fire Departments on many dynamics related to their ability to respond to fires. Insurance companies then use these ratings as a factor to determine insurance rates.

ISO rates Fire Departments using the following matrix:
• Ten (10) points possible for the Dispatch Center; which evaluates the center’s ability to receive 911 calls and dispatch the appropriate fire apparatus in a timely manner.
• Forty (40) points possible for the Water Supply in the community, which evaluates the water mains, number of fire hydrants and the amount of flow from the hydrants, as well as the overall maintenance of the system.
• Fifty (50) points possible for Fire Department Operations, which evaluates fire station location, staffing, training, apparatus and equipment.

Sterling Heights scored very high on each of these factors this year, subsequently bumping the department up in ranking to a “2.”

ISO revamped its evaluation system in 2013. The new program provided “focus on areas that have a proven effect of fire suppression and prevention,” as well as considering nationally accepted standards.” This allowed the Sterling Heights Fire Department to take full effect of their actual response to past fires, staffing levels and the exceptional training programs that have been the mainstay of the department for decades. Fire Chief Chris Martin said he believes that the new format evaluates a department’s actual capability to respond to fires, which is driven by staffing and apparatus location. “For a fire department to make a difference, it has to place ample manpower on the scene of a structure fire as quickly as possible,” Martin said.

“This is great news for us; I have known for many years how great this Fire Department is and it is time we are recognized properly for it,” Martin said. “This new rating was the culmination of the hard work of many people within the department, the Department of Public Works, and the Macomb County Sheriff’s Communications and Technology Center (COMTEC). All of their hard work has paid off.”

According to Conrad Maday II, from Farm Bureau Insurance in Shelby Township, each insurance company calculates rates a little differently. There are also many variables involved, such as fire loss statistics within the community. While generally a better ISO rating can reduce insurance rates, it is not immediate and it is considered with other factors. The larger policies, like commercial and multi-residential usually see the biggest effect.

Nevertheless, City of Sterling Heights officials speculate some homeowners could see savings up to $50 per year or more on their homeowners’ insurance policies.

“Sterling Heights is known for its excellent police and fire services,” said Mayor Michael C. Taylor. “ For decades we have been rated as one the safest cities in the Country according to FBI crime statistics. Our Fire Department has taken our Safe City distinction to a new level and I join my City Council colleagues by saying we could not be more proud of the great men and women that make up our exemplary Police and Fire Departments. This outstanding report card is a reflection of their commitment to excellence.”

For more information, please contact Fire Chief Chris Martin at (586) 446-2951 or via email at

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