NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Both North Charleston Fire and Summerville Fire Departments earned the coveted Class 1 rating by the Insurance Services Office, or ISO.
The ISO is an organization that independently evaluates municipal fire services throughout the country.
Class 1 is the highest rating and insurance companies use ISO status along with other factors to establish insurance rates.
"There are about 260 departments nationwide that are rated as a Class 1," North Charleston Fire Chief Greg Bulanow said. "They look at our equipment, our staffing and training. Every single hydrant was geo-located so we knew how much water it could provided."
Communities with better ISO ratings typically get offered lower insurance premiums.
"Lower ratings for fire departments can translate into cheaper insurance premiums for residential and commercial property," Bulanow said. "Class 1 may be especially important for commercial property owners." Bulanow recommends owners contact their insurance provider to confirm the department is Class 1 effective June 1.
Meanwhile, Summerville Fire & Rescue will be Class 1 as of July 1.
"This is a tremendous accomplishment that would not have been possible without the dedication of our personnel and the support we receive from our communications division, SCPW, the Town and community," Summerville Fire Rescue Chief Richard Waring said.
According to Summerville's website, there are only 21 South Carolina departments surveyed rated Class 1.
City of Charleston Fire and St. Andrews Fire Department both currently have a Class 1 rating. St. Johns Fire District, Mt. Pleasant Fire and Colleton County Fire-Rescue maintains an ISO Class 3 rating, according to departments' websites.