April 29, 2005
With fire services operating on tight budgets, saving money is a priority. But, keeping costs down without sacrificing safety is not an easy trick.

Luckily, HACC has done the homework and can help firefighters and planners save money while improving their community's preparedness for public fire defenses.

The whole package comes together later this month when The Senator John J. Shumaker Public Safety Center of HACC presents Understanding ISO's Fire Suppression Rating Schedule on Friday, May 20, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sessions take place in the C. Ted Lick Wildwood Conference Center on the Harrisburg Campus of HACC, Central Pennsylvania's Community College.

The seminar will feature field staff of the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), a national organization that evaluates communities' protectiveness against fire and other natural hazards for insurance companies.

The seminar is presented for the mid-Atlantic region, with enrollment open to fire chiefs, operations officers, fire service administrators, public safety directors, municipal managers and all others who have an interest in and want to improve their knowledge of the issues.

"The purpose of the seminar is to help participants understand how the Insurance Services Office, Inc. evaluates protectiveness against fire and other natural hazards of different communities," said Richard Orange, senior educational specialist and coordinator of HACC's fire science technology program. "This affects the way insurance companies establish criteria and consequently, the insurance premiums- which you and I pay."

The ISO field staff will provide the tools and resources needed to improve a community's ISO rating. They will give participants an overview of the current Fire Suppression Rating Schedule and historical perspective of previous grading schedules.

Presenters will explain Public Protection Classifications (PPCs) and their correlations to insurer loss experience; Individual Property Fire Suppression; and Alternative Water Supplies.

Topics to be covered during the seminar include: -Classifying a jurisdiction's fire defense system.

-The information available to fire chiefs that ISO uses in the evaluation

-Information about alternate water supplies as an equivalency to public water supplies

-Determining needed fire flow for a building

-Examining national statistics on ISO gradings

-Commercial and personal lines insurance rate analysis relative to the PPC.

All seminar participants will receive a copy of the Fire Suppression Rating Schedule and see the tools ISO, Inc. can provide in preparation for an evaluation.

Ample time is set aside for a question and answer period after the presentation.

The timing of the ISO seminar coincides deliberately with a major three-day Fire Expo to be held May 20-22 at the State Farm Show Complex, noted Orange. The Expo draws people from all over Pennsylvania and several neighboring states.

"We hope to capture some of them and give them one more offering," he said. Lunch, morning and afternoon breaks will provide an opportunity for seminar participants to network with others. The cost of lunch and the breaks is included in the fee of $30 for Pennsylvania residents, and $40 for out-of-state residents.

"Understanding ISO's Fire Suppression Rating Schedule" is this year's Annual Fire Service Leadership Seminar sponsored by the Shumaker Center, which offers several programs and conferences each year on public safety.

"The Insurance Services Office, Inc. holds seminars in many locations," noted Orange. "We are happy to be working with ISO."

Seats are limited, so an early response is recommended. Reservations can be made by mail, phone or fax. For information, contact the HACC Shumaker Public Safety Center, at (717) 780-2607, or send an email to the address below.

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