March 6, 2015 – In October of 2014 the City of Cartersville was reevaluated under the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) Public Protection Classification Program. This was an extensive review of three primary sections: Communications through Bartow 911, Water Supply through Cartersville Water Department and Bartow County Water Authority, and Cartersville Fire Department. The Department has received notification that it will be going to a Class 1 ISO rating. The new rating will go into effect in the summer of 2015. This is the highest level that can be obtained by a community.

Cartersville Fire Chief Scott Carter explained the long range efforts, “We began with a very strategic plan in 2009. The plan was to build on the successes of those before us and to efficiently target areas where we knew there were deficiencies in our service delivery. Through the support of our City Administration, Mayor and Council this new ISO classification became a reality.” Chief Carter also identified some of the key accomplishments that have been completed since 2009 that made it possible to reach this milestone. They were:

Established a fire hydrant testing and maintenance program

  • Established a hydrant identification program in compliance with NFPA
  • Realigned emergency response territories and capabilities
  • Added a fourth fire station with manpower
  • Added a fourth fire engine
  • Improvements to the City infrastructure for water supply by :
  • Establishing an emergency Etowah River Intake
  • Rehabilitation of 12,000 plus feet water line on Tennessee Street
  • Rehabilitation of 7,000 plus feet of water line on Etowah Drive
  • Establishing a high pressure line between Center Road and Main Street
  • Bringing a 3 million gallon water tank on line at Center Road
  • Adding to fire hydrant placements around the city.
  • Establishing a joint fire training center on Paga Mine Road in 2009 with Bartow County
  • Providing back up communications and circuit monitoring with Bartow 911
  • Enhancing internal procedures, records processes, and vehicle/equipment maintenance programs.

According to the Insurance Service Organization (ISO) web site it states: The Public Protection Classification (PPC™) program recognizes the efforts of communities to provide fire protection services for citizens and property owners. A community’s investment in fire mitigation is a proven and reliable predicator of future fire losses. Insurance companies use PPC information to help establish fair premiums for fire insurance — generally offering lower premiums in communities with better protection. By offering economic benefits for communities that invest in their firefighting services, the program provides an additional incentive for improving and maintaining public fire protection.

Fire Departments and communities are rated on a scale of 10 to 1. Based on ISO statistics, they have evaluated 48,855 departments nationwide and Cartersville is among approximately 1% that received a Class 1 rating. Cartersville has maintained solid classifications over the years, moving to a Class 5 in 1976, Class 4 in 1981, Class 3 in 2004 and now Class 1.

Chief Carter stated that the impact on the community is very positive. He explained, “While there is not a huge reduction in insurance premiums going from a 3 to a 1, there is major incentive to attract new industry and commercial growth.” He went on to say, “When a prospect is looking at a community, they look at the ISO rating. From that they see how solid the public protection is and the commitment to protection. This is a major attraction that improves the local economy with solid investment.”

Chief Carter was quick to point out that there are many to be thanked for making this possible. He stated that this was a combined effort of multiple departments and stake holders. The Chief praised the efforts of the Cartersville Water Department and Director Bob Jones, along with Bartow 911 and Bartow County Fire for helping to make this possible. Chief Carter concluded by saying, “This is a huge day for our organization and our City and none of this would have been possible if it was not for the support of our Mayor and Council, City leaders and of course the foundation of our organization, our people. I have known that we had a first class group of men and women at Cartersville Fire, now I can simply say they are a Class1 group.”

 A formal presentation from ISO will take place on March 19th at 10:00 A.M. At that time, a representative will discuss the evaluation that was conducted.  From this meeting, we will gain a better understanding of the local impact the Class 1 rating has, along with the high and low points of the recent assessment.  In the meantime, questions regarding what this means to homeowners/business insurance policies should be addressed with personal insurance companies directly.